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K.G., G.C.B. 

My Lord, 

I beg leave to dedicate this Volume to your 
Lordship, as a tribute justly due to the great Statesman who 
has ever had at heart the amelioration of the African race ; 
and as a token of admiration of the beneficial effects of 
that policy which he has so long laboured to establish on the 
West Coast of Africa ; and which, in improving that region, 
has most forcibly shown the need of some similar system on 
the opposite side of the Continent. 



It has been my object in this work to give as clear an 
account as I was able of tracts of country previously unex- 
plored, with their river systems, natural productions, and 
capabilities ; and to bring before my countrymen, and all 
others interested in the cause of humanity, the misery entailed 
by the slave-trade in its inland phases; a subject on which 
I and my companions are the first who have had any oppor- 
tunities of forming a judgment. The eight years spent in 
Africa, since my last work was published, have not, I fear, 
improved my power of writing English; but I hope that, 
whatever my descriptions want in clearness, or literary skill, 
may in a measure be compensated by the novelty of the 
scenes described, and the additional information afforded on 
that curse of Africa, and that shame, even now, in the 
19th century, of an European nation, — the slave-trade. 

I took the " Lady Nyassa" to Bombay for the express pur- 
pose of selling her, and might without any difficulty have 
done so ; but with the thought of parting with her arose, more 
strongly than ever, the feeling of disinclination to abandon 
the East Coast of Africa to the Portuguese and slave-trading, 
and I determined to run home and consult my friends before 
I allowed the little vessel to pass from my hands. After, 
therefore, having put two Ajawa lads to school under the 
eminent Missionary the Rev. Dr. Wilson, and having pro- 
vided satisfactorily for the native crew, I started homewards 
with the three white sailors, and reached London July 20th, 



1864. Mr. and Mrs. Webb, my much-loved friends, wrote 
to Bombay inviting me, in the event of my coming to Eng- 
land, to make Newstead Abbey my headquarters, and on 
my arrival renewed their iuvitation : and though, when 
I accepted it, I had no intention of remaining so long 
with my kind-hearted generous friends, I stayed with them 
until April, 1865, and under their roof transcribed from my 
own and my brother's journal the whole of this present book. 
It is with heartfelt gratitude I would record their unwearied 
kindness. My acquaintance with Mr. Webb began in Africa, 
where he was a daring and successful hunter, and his con- 
tinued friendship is most valuable, because he has seen 
missionary work, and he would not accord his respect and 
esteem to me had he not believed that I, and my brethren 
also, were to be looked on as honest men earnestly trying 
to do our duty. 

The Government have supported the proposal of the Eoyal 
Geographical Society made by my friend Sir Roderick Mur- 
chison, and have united with that body to aid me in another 
attempt to open Africa to civilizing influences, and a valued 
private friend has given a thousand pounds for the same object. 
I propose to go inland, north of the territory which the Por- 
tuguese in Europe claim, and endeavour to commence that 
system on the East which has been so eminently successful 
on the West Coast ; a system combining the repressive efforts 
of H.M. cruisers with lawful trade and Christian Missions— 
the moral and material results of which have been so grati- 
fying. I hope to ascend the Rovuma, or some other river 
North of Cape Delgado, and, in addition to my other work, 
shall strive, by passing along the Northern end of Lake 
Nyassa and round the Southern end of Lake Tanganyika, to 
ascertain the watershed of that part of Africa. In so doing, 
I have no wish to unsettle what with so much toil and danger 



was accomplished by Speke and Grant, but rather to confirm 
their illustrious discoveries. 

I have to acknowledge the obliging readiness of Lord 
Eussell in lending me the drawings taken by the artist who 
was in the first instance attached to the Expedition. These 
sketches, with photographs by Charles Livingstone and Dr. 
Kirk, have materially assisted in the illustrations. I would 
also very sincerely thank my friends Professor Owen and 
Mr. Oswell for many valuable hints and other aid in the 
preparation of this volume. 

New stead Abbey, 
April 16, 1865. 


The credit which I was fain to award to the Lisbon 
statesmen for a sincere desire to put an end to the slave- 
trade, is, I regret to find, totally undeserved. They have 
employed one Mons. Lacerda, to try <o extinguish the facts 
adduced by me before the meeting of the " British Associa- . 
tion for the Advancement of Science," at Bath, by a series 
of papers in the Portuguese Official Journal ; and their 
Minister for Foreign Affairs has since devoted some of 
the funds of his Government to the translation and circula- 
tion of Mons. Lacerda's articles in the form of an English 
tract. Nothing is more conspicuous in this official document 
than the extreme ignorance displayed of the geography 
of the country of which they pretend that they possess 
not only the knowledge, but also the dominion. A vague 
rumour, cited by some old author, about two marshes below 
Murchison's Cataracts, is considered conclusive evidence 

b 2 



that the ancient inhabitants of Senna, a village on the 
Zambesi, found no difficulty in navigating the Shire to 
Lake Nyassa up what modern travellers find to be an 
ascent of 1200 feet in 35 miles of latitude. A broad 
shallow lake, with a strong current, which Senhor Candido 
declared he had visited N.W. of Tette, is assumed to be 
the narrow deep Lake Nyassa, without current, and about 
N.N.E. of the same point. Great offence is also taken 
because the discovery of the main sources of the Nile has 
been ascribed to Speke and Grant, instead of to Ptolemy 
and F. Lobo. 

But the main object of the Portuguese Government is not 
geographical. It is to bolster up that pretence to power 
which has been the only obstacle to the establishment of 
lawful commerce and friendly relations with the native 
inhabitants of Eastern Africa. The following work contains 
abundant confirmation of all that was advanced by me at the 
Bath meeting of the British Association ; and I may here 
add that it is this unwarranted assumption of power over 
1360 miles of coast — from English Kiver to Cape Delgado, 
where the Portuguese have in fact little real authority 
— which perpetuates the barbarism of the inhabitants. 
The Portuguese interdict all foreign commerce, except at 
a very few points where they have established custom- 
houses, and even at these, by an exaggerated and obstructive 
tariff and differential duties, they completely shut out the 
natives from any trade, except that in slaves. 

Looking from South to North, let us glance at the enor- 
mous seaboard which the Portuguese in Europe endeavour to 
make us believe belongs to them. Delagoa Bay has a small 
fort called Lorenzo Marques, but nothing beyond the walls. 
At Inhambane they hold a small strip of land by sufferance 
of the natives. Sofala is in ruins, and from Quillimane north- 


wards for 690 miles, they have only one small stockade, 
protected by an armed launch in the mouth of the Eiver 
Angoxa to prevent foreign vessels from trading there. Then 
at Mosambique they have the little island on which the fort 
stands, and a strip about three miles long on the mainland, 
on which they have a few farms, which are protected from 
hostility only by paying the natives an annual tribute, which 
they call " having the blacks in their pay." The settlement 
has long been declining in trade and importance. It is gar- 
risoned by a few hundred sickly soldiers shut up in the fort, 
and even with a small coral island near can hardly be called 
secure. On the island of Oibo, or Iboe, an immense number 
of slaves are collected, but there is little trade of any kind. 
At Pomba Bay a small fort was made, but it is very doubtful 
whether it still exists; the attempt to form a settlement 
there having entirely failed. They pay tribute to the Zulus, 
for the lands they cultivate on the right bank of the 
Zambesi ; and the general effect of the pretence to power 
and obstruction to commerce, is to drive the independent 
native chiefs to the Arab dhow slave-trade, as the only one 
open to them. 

It is well known to the English Government, from reliable 
documents at the Admiralty and Foreign Office, that no 
longer ago than November, 1864, two months after my 
speech was delivered at Bath, when the punishment of the 
perpetrators of an outrage on the crew of the cutter of H.M.S. 
"Lyra," near a river 45 miles S.W. of Mosambique, was 
demanded by H.M.S. "Wasp," at Mosambique, the present 
Governor-General declared that he had no power over the 
natives there. They have never been subdued, and being a 
fine energetic race, would readily enter into commercial 
treaties with foreigners, were it not for the false assertion 
of power by which the Portuguese, with the tacit consent of 

b 3 


European Governments, shut them out from commerce and 
every civilizing influence. 

This Portuguese pretence to dominion is the curse of 
the negro race on the East Coast of Africa, and it would 
soon fall to the ground, were it not for the moral support it 
derives from the respect paid to it by our own flag. The 
Emperor Napoleon III. disregarded it in the case of the 
" Charles et Georges," while only by the aid of English sailors 
has the Government of Mosarabique, on more than one 
occasion, been saved from being overturned. Our squadron 
on the East Coast costs over 70,000£. a year, and, by our 
acquiescence in the sham sovereignty of the Portuguese, we 
effect only a partial suppression of the slave-trade, and 
none of the commercial benefits which have followed direct 
dealing with the natives on the West Coast. A new law for 
the abolition of slavery has been proposed by the King of 
Portugal ; but it inspires me with no confidence, as no means 
have ever been taken to put similar enactments already 
passed into execution, and we can only view this as a new 
bid for still further acquiescence in a system which per- 
petuates barbarism. Mons. Lacerda has unwittingly shown, 
by his eager advocacy, that the real sentiments of his 
employers are decidedly pro-slavery. The great fact that 
the Americans have rid themselves of the incubus of slavery, 
and will probably not tolerate the continuance of the 
murderous slave-trade by the Portuguese nation, has done 
more to elicit their king's recent speech than the opinions of 
his ministry. 




Hopes of the Authoe. Failure of search of Portuguese 
for Ophir. Early Catholic Missions. Sir E. Murchi- 
son's theory. Lord Palmerston's policy. Objects 
of Expedition .. .. .. 1 


Concealment of Mouths of Zambesi by Portuguese. The 
Zambesi and its banks. "Free Emigrants." Mariano. 
Senna and its "one virtue/' Senhor Ferrao. Major 



Meet Makololo. Superstitions. Voluntary slavery. 
Tette, plants, coal, gold, and iron. Kebrabasa. 
Morumbwa 42 


Native musicians. African fever. Eiver Shire, first 
ascent of. murchison's cataracts. second trip up 
the Shire. Lake Shirwa. Eeturn to Tette. Steamer, 
failure of 63 


Third trip up the Shire. Mount Morambala. Hot foun- 
tain. Portuguese geographical knowledge ! Shire 
marshes. Birds. Brackish soil and cotton. Chibisa 87 


Manganja highlands. Belief in a Supreme Being. Dis- 
covery of Lake Nyassa. Dr. Eoscher 104 




Beturn to Vessel. Direct route from Chibisa's to Tette. 
Off to Kongone. Eeturn to Tette. Banyai and 
Portuguese. Tette, laws and society. Zulu tax- 
gatherers 130 


Start to take Makololo home. New path. Survey of 

Kebrabasa completed. Sandia's report 155 


Chicova. Native Discussions. The march. " The fear of 
you and the dread of you." solo and duet by our 



Tette grey sandstone and coal. Sagacity of Elephants. 

Ants. Salt-making. African Empires. Sequasha .. 184 


Zumbo. Catholic missions, their failure. Fruits. " Smokes." 

E. Chongwe. E. Kafue 203 


Mission to Moselekatse. The Bawe and Baenda pezi. 
Batoka highlands. Dogged by the slave-trade. At- 

Mosi-oa-tunya 219 




Servitude of interior. Sekeletu's leprosy. Doctress and 
doctors. Trade with west coast. Mr. Helmore's 
party 262 


The Makololo. Dr. Livingstone revisits Linyanti. Native 

doubts of the Eesurrection 281 

CONTENTS. • xiii 



Departure prom Sesheke. Kalunda and Moamba Falls. 

Native fruits. Golongwe. Sinamane 303 



Tette 23rd November, 1860 317 

Down l ro Kongone. The end of the " Asthmatic." Kon- 



The "Pioneer." Bishop Mackenzie. The Eovuma. The 

Shire. Slaves liberated. The Ajawa. Magomero .. 348 


Start again for Nyassa. Description of Lake and its 
shores. Horrors of inland slave-trade. Mazitu. 

Arab geography 365 


Napoleon III. Arrival of H.M.S. "Gorgon." Death of 
Bishop Mackenzie and of Mr. Burrup. Eeverend 
J. Stewart. Death of Mrs. Livingstone 400 


Connivance of Governor - General in slave-trade. 
Launch of the "Lady Nyassa." ^Up the Eovuma 
again. eocky barrier. eeturn to ploneer 418 


quillimane. eeturn to shupanga. famine, the blshop's 
grave. Mr. Thornton: his death. Desolation. Sepa- 
ration. Dr. Meller 445 





Start for upper cataracts of Shire. African poisons. 

Eecall of Expedition 464 


Our English sailors. Kirk's range. Ajawa migrations. 
The Negro type. A superhuman Instructor 481 


Kota-kota Bat. Africans and Mohammedans. African 
religion. Rains. Inundations. Climate. Watershed. 
Native geography 511 


Reasons for returning. African Women, their employ- 
ments .. .. 539 


Resemblance of African Hunters to Egyptian figures. 

Dialects. Direction of wind. Wet clothes and fever 546 


Rest of tropical trees. Bishop Mackenzie's successor. 
Abandonment of Mission. Zambesi in flood. Taken 
in tow. Hurricane. Arrival at Bombay 569 


Results of Expedition. Slave-trade a barrier to all 
progress. The African. African stagnation. Sta- 
tistics of Sierra Leone. Expeditions and Settle- 
ments 585 


1. Bird's-eye View of the Great Cataracts of the Zambesi .. .. Frontispiece. 

2. Pandanus or Screw Palm, covered with climbing plants, near the 

Kongone Canal of the Zambesi .. ..Thos. Baines, ft. To face page 19 

3. View of Mazaro. — Fight between Portuguese and Rebels in the 

distance .. .. „ 28 

4. Dance of Landeens, or Zulus, come to lift the Annual Tribute 

from the Portuguese at Shupanga .. Thos. Baines, ft. ,, 30 

5. The Grave of Mrs. Livingstone under the Baobab-tree, near to 

Shupanga House 31 

6. The Ma- Robert in the Zambesi above Senna, with the saddle- 

shaped Hill Kevramisa in the distance . . Thos. Baines, ft. „ 34 

7. Landeens, or Zulus, who lift Tribute of the Portuguese at Senna, 

exhibiting War Exercises Thos. Baines, ft. „ 36 

8. Weapons for killing the Hippopotamus 38 

9. View of a portion of Kebrabasa Rapids , . .. To face page 53 

10. Women with Water-pots, listening to the music of the Marimba, 

Sansa, and Pan's Pipes „ 63 

1 1 . Mamvira Cataract, the first or lowest of Murchison's Cataracts . . „ 78 

12. African Fiddle of one String 93 

13. View of Steamer, Traps, and dead Hippopotamus 95 

14. Fish-basket 100 

15. Native web, and Weaver smoking the huge tobacco-pipe of the country .. 112 

16. Blacksmith's Forge and Bellows of Goatskin , .. 113 

17. Pelele, or Lip-ring of Manganja Woman .. .. 115 

18. " Goree," or Slave-stick 125 

19. Wedding Procession at Tette .. .. Thos. Baines, ft. To face page 144 

20. Group of Hippopotami 186 

21. Tunnels of Ants 188 

22. Musical Instruments 237 

23. Bellows and other Tools 314 

24. Waist-belt 316 

25. Gang of Captives met at Mbame's on their way to Tette .. To face page 356 

26. An old Manganja Woman, showing the Pelele or Lip-ring and the tattooing 

in intersecting lines on face, arms, and body 394 

27. Beehive. Baskets employed by Women to catch Fish . . .. To face page 439 

28. View of Quillimane and of the " Pioneer" 446 

29. Poisoned Arrows 466 

30. Females Hoeing 499 

31. Chia Hand Net 506 

32. Manganja Spears 507 

33. Woman grinding 543 

34. Native Mill for grinding Corn 544 

35. Maravi Bow 557 

Map to Illustrate Dr. Livingstone's Travels . . At the end. 





Objects of the Expedition — Portuguese Expedition in search of the Ophir of 
King Solomon — India and not Africa indicated by the merchandise sought 
— Failure in Sofalla — Second Portuguese Expedition after gold-mines — 
Eepulsed by large bodies of natives — Catholic Missions — Want of reliable 
information regarding them — Erroneous ideas as to the interior of Africa — 
Sir Roderick Murchison's hypothesis correct — Decrease of slave-trade, and 
increase of lawful commerce on West Coast owing to Lord Palmerston's 
policy — Fatality of the murderer attends the slave-trader — Opinion of Rev. 
J. L. Wilson on the slave-trade — The operations of our cruisers — 111 effects 
of sealing up the East Coast — Instructions to the Expedition. 

When first I determined on publishing the narrative of 
my 6 Missionary Travels/ I had a great misgiving as to 
whether the criticism my endeavours might provoke would 
be friendly or the reverse, more particularly as I felt that I 
had then been so long a sojourner in the wilderness, as to be 
quite a stranger to the British public. But I am now in this, 
my second essay at authorship, cheered by the conviction that 
very many readers, who are persoually unknown to me, will 
receive this narrative with the kindly consideration and 
allowances of friends ; , and that many more, under the 
genial influences of an innate love of liberty, and of a 
desire to see the same social and religious blessings they 
themselves enjoy, disseminated throughout the world, will 
sympathize with me in the efforts by which I have striven, 




however imperfectly, to elevate the position and character of 
our fellow-men in Africa. This knowledge makes me doubly 
anxious to render my narrative acceptable to all my readers ; 
but, in the absence of any excellence in literary composition, 
the natural consequence of my pursuits, I have to offer only a 
simple account of a mission which, with respect to the objects 
proposed to be thereby accomplished, formed a noble contrast 
to some of the earlier expeditions to Eastern Africa. I be- 
lieve that the information it will give, respecting the people 
visited and the countries traversed, will not be materially 
gainsaid by any future commonplace traveller like myself, 
who may be blest with fair health and a gleam of sunshine 
in his breast. This account is written in the earnest hope 
that it may contribute to that information which will yet 
cause the great and fertile continent of Africa to be no longer 
kept wantonly sealed, but made available as the scene of 
European enterprise, and will enable its people to take a 
place among the nations of the earth, thus securing the 
happiness and prosperity of tribes now sunk in barbarism or 
debased by slavery ; and, above all, I cherish the hope that it 
may lead to the introduction of the blessings of the Gospel. 

The first expedition sent to East Africa, after the Portu- 
guese had worked a passage round the Cape, was instituted 
under the auspices of the Government of Portugal, for the 
purpose, it is believed, of discovering the land of Ophir, 
made mention of in Holy Scripture as the country whence 
King Solomon obtained sandal-wood, ivory, apes, peacocks, 
and gold. The terms used by the Jews to express the first 
four articles had, according to Max Miiller, no existence in 
the Hebrew language, but were words imported into it from the 
Sanscrit. It is curious then, that the search was not directed 
to the Coast of India, — more particularly as Sanscrit was 



known on the Malabar Coast, — and there also peacocks and 
sandal-wood are met with in abundance. The Portuguese, like 
some others of more modern times, were led to believe that 
Sofalla, because sometimes pronounced Zophar by the Arabs, 
from being the lowest or most southerly port they visited, 
was identical with the Ophir alluded to in Sacred History. 

Eastern Africa had been occupied from the most remote 
times by traders from India and the Bed Sea. Vasco da 
Gama, in 1497-8, found them firmly established at Mosam- 
bique, and, after reaching India, he turned with longing 
eyes from Calicut towards Sofalla, and actually visited it in 
1502. As the Scriptural Ophir, it was expected to be the 
most lucrative of all the Portuguese stations; and, under 
the impression that an important settlement could be esta- 
blished there, the Portuguese conquered, at great loss of 
both men and money, the district in which the gold-washings 
were situated ; but, in the absence of all proper machinery, 
a vast amount of labour returned so small an amount of 
gain, that they abandoned them in disgust. 

The next expedition, consisting of three ships and a 
thousand men, mostly gentlemen volunteers, left Lisbon in 
1569 for the conquest of the gold mines or washings of the 
Chief of Monomotapa, west of Tette, and of those in Manica, 
still further west, but in a more southerly direction ; and also 
to find a route to the west coast. In this last object they 
failed ; and to this day it has been accomplished by only 
one European, and that an Englishman. The expedition 
was commanded by Francisco Barreto, and abundantly sup- 
plied with horses, asses, camels, and provisions. Ascend- 
ing the Zambesi as far as Senna, they found many Arab 
and other traders already settled there, who received the 
strangers with great hospitality. The horses, however, 

b 2 



having # passed through a district abounding with tsetse, an 
insect whose bite is fatal to domestic animals, soon showed 
the emaciation peculiar to the poison; and Senna being 
notoriously unhealthy, the sickness of both men and horses 
aroused Barreto's suspicion that poison had been admini- 
stered by the inhabitants, most of whom, consequently, he 
put to the sword or blew away from his guns. Marching 
beyond Senna with a party five hundred and sixty strong, he 
and his men suffered terribly from hunger and thirst, and, 
after being repeatedly assaulted by a large body of natives, 
the expedition was compelled to return without ever reaching 
the gold-mines which Barreto so eagerly sought. 

Previous to this, however, devoted Koman Catholic mis- 
sionaries had penetrated where an army could not go ; for 
Senhor Bordalo, in his excellent Historical Essays, mentions 
that the Jesuit father Gon^alo da Silveira had already 
suffered martyrdom by command of the Chief of Monomotapa. 
Indeed, missionaries of that bodv of Christians established 
themselves in a vast number of places in Eastern Africa, as 
the ruins of mission stations still testify ; but, not having suc- 
ceeded in meeting with any reliable history of the labours of 
these good men, it is painful for me to be unable to contradict 
the calumnies which Portuguese writers still heap on their 
memory. So far as the impression left on the native mind 
goes, it is decidedly favourable to their zeal and piety ; while 
the writers referred to roundly assert that the missionaries 
engaged in the slave-trade ; which is probably as false as the 
more modern scandals occasionally retailed against their 
Protestant brethren. Philanthropists sometimes err in ac- 
cepting the mere gossip of coast villages as facts, when 
asserting the atrocities of our countrymen abroad ; while 
others, pretending to regard all philanthropy as weakness, 



yet practising that silliest of all hypocrisies, the endeavour 
to appear worse than they are, accept and publish the mere 
brandy-and-water twaddle of immoral traders, against a body 
of men who, as a whole, are an honour to human kind. In 
modern missionary literature, now widely spread, we have a 
record which will probably outlive all misrepresentation ; 
and it is much to be regretted that there is no available 
Catholic literature of the same nature, and that none of the 
translations which may have been made into the native 
tongues can now be consulted. We cannot believe that 
these good men would risk their lives for the unholy gains 
which, even were they lawful, by the rules of their order 
they could not enjoy ; but it would be extremely interesting 
to all their successors to know exactly what were the real 
causes of their failure in perpetuating the faith. 

In order that the following narrative may be clearly under- 
stood, it is necessary to call to mind some things which took 
place previous to the Zambesi Expedition being sent out. 
Most geographers are aware that, before the discovery of Lake 
Ngami and the well watered country in which the Makololo 
dwell, the idea prevailed that a large part of the interior of 
Africa consisted of sandy deserts, into which rivers ran and 
were lost. During my journey in 1852-6, from sea to sea, 
across the south intertropical part of the continent, it was 
found to be a well watered country, with large tracts of 
fine fertile soil covered with forest, and beautiful grassy 
valleys, occupied by a considerable population ; and one of 
the most wonderful waterfalls in the world was brought 
to light. The peculiar form of the continent was then 
ascertained to be an elevated plateau, somewhat depressed 
in the centre, and with fissures in the sides by which the 
rivers escaped to the sea ; and this great fact in physical 



geography can never be referred to without calling to mind 
the remarkable hypothesis by which the distinguished Presi- 
dent of the Eoyal Geographical Society (Sir Roderick I. 
Murchison) clearly indicated this peculiarity, before it was 
verified by actual observation of the altitudes of the country 
and by the courses of the rivers. New light was thrown on 
other portions of the continent by the famous travels of 
Dr. Barth, by the researches of the Church of England 
Missionaries Krapf, Erkhardt, and Rebman, by the persever- 
ing efforts of Dr. Baikie, the last martyr to the climate and 
English enterprise, by the journey of Erancis Galton, and 
by the most interesting discoveries of Lakes Tanganyika and 
Victoria Nyanza by Captain Burton, and by Captain Speke, 
whose untimely end we all so deeply deplore. Then followed 
the researches of Van der Decken, Thornton, and others ; 
and last of all the grand discovery of the main source of the 
Nile, which every Englishman must feel an honest pride in 
knowing was accomplished by our gallant countrymen, 
Speke and Grant. The fabulous torrid zone, of parched and 
burning sand, was now proved to be a well watered region 
resembling North America in its fresh- water lakes, and 
India in its hot humid lowlands, jungles, ghauts, and cool 
highland plains. 

In our exploration the chief object in view was not 
to discover objects of nine days' wonder, to gaze and be 
gazed at by barbarians ; but to note the climate, the natural 
productions, the local diseases, the natives and their relation 
to the rest of the world ; all which were observed with that 
peculiar interest which, as regards the future, the first white 
man cannot but feel in a continent whose history is only just 
beginning. When proceeding to the West Coast, in order 
to find a path to the sea by which lawful commerce might 


be introduced to aid missionary operations, it was quite 
striking to observe, several hundreds of miles from the 
ocean, the very decided influence of that which is known 
as Lord Palmerston's policy. Piracy had been abolished, and 
the slave-trade so far suppressed, that it was spoken of by 
Portuguese, who had themselves been slave-traders, as a thing 
of the past. Lawful commerce had increased from an annual 
total of 20,000?. in ivory and gold-dust, to between two and 
three millions, of which one million was in palm oil to our 
own country. Over twenty Missions had been established, 
with schools, in which more than twelve thousand pupils were 
taught. Life and property were rendered secure on the Coast, 
and comparative peace imparted to millions of people in the 
interior, and all this at a time when, by the speeches of influ- 
ential men in England, the world was given to understand 
that the English cruisers had done nothing but aggravate the 
evils of the slave-trade. It is so reasonable to expect that 
self-interest would induce the slave-trader to do his utmost to 
preserve the lives by which he makes his gains, that men 
yielded ready credence to the plausible theory; but the 
atrocious waste of human life was just as great when the 
slave-trade was legal; it always has been, and must be, 
marked by the want of foresight characteristic of the mur- 
derer. Every one wonders why he, who has taken another's 
life, did not take this, that, or the other precaution to avoid 
detection ; and every one may well wonder why slave-traders 
have always, by over-crowding and all its evils, acted so 
much in direct opposition to their own interests, but it is 
the fatality of the murderer ; the loss of life from this cause, 
simply baffles exaggeration. 

On this subject the opinion of the Eev. J. L. Wilson, a 
most intelligent American Missionary, who has written by 



far the ablest work on the West Coast that has yet appeared, 
is worth a* host. He declares that the efforts of the English 
Government are worthy of all praise. Had it not been for 
the cruisers, and especially those of England, Africa would 
still have been inaccessible to missionary labour ; " and it is 
devoutly to be hoped," he adds, " that these noble and dis- 
interested measures may not be relaxed until the foul demon 
be driven away from the earth." The slave-trade is the 
greatest obstacle in existence to civilization and commercial 
progress; and as the English are the most philanthropic 
people in the world, and will probably always have the 
largest commercial stake in the African continent, the policy 
for its suppression in every possible way shows thorough 
wisdom and foresight. 

When, in pursuit of the same object, the East Coast was 
afterwards reached, it was found sealed up. Although praise- 
worthy efforts had been made by Her Majesty's cruisers, 
yet in consequence of foreigners being debarred from 
entering the country, neither traders nor missionaries had 
established themselves. The trade was still only in "a 
little ivory, gold-dust, and slaves, just as it was on the West 
Coast, before Lord Palmerston's policy came into operation 
there. It was, however, subsequently discovered that the 
Portuguese Government professed itself willing, nay anxious, 
to let the country be opened to the influences of civilization 
and lawful commerce — indeed it could scarcely be otherwise, 
seeing that not a grain of benefit ever accrued to Portugal by 
shutting it up ; — and the Zambesi, a large river, promised 
to be a fine inlet to the highlands and interior generally; 
the natives were agricultural, and all fond of trading; the 
soil was fertile — indigo, cotton, tobacco, sugar-cane, and other 
articles of value, were already either cultivated or growing 



wild. It seemed, therefore, that if this region could be 
opened to lawful commerce and Christian Missions, it would 
have the effect of aiding or supplementing our cruisers in 
the same way as had been done by the missionaries and 
traders on the West Coast, and that an inestimable service 
would be thereby rendered to Africa and Europe. 

The main object of the Zambesi Expedition, as our instruc- 
tions from Her Majesty's Government explicitly stated, was 
to extend the knowledge already attained of the geography 
and mineral and agricultural resources of Eastern and Cen- 
tral Africa — to improve our acquaintance with the inhabi- 
tants, and to endeavour to engage them to apply themselves 
to industrial pursuits and to the cultivation of their lands, 
with a view to the production of raw material to be exported 
to England in return for British manufactures; and it was 
hoped, that, by encouraging the natives to occupy themselves 
in the development of the resources of the country, a con- 
siderable advance might be made towards the extinction of 
the slave-trade, as they would not be long in discovering 
that the former would eventually be a more certain source 
of profit than the latter. The Expedition was sent in ac- 
cordance with the settled policy of the English Government ; 
and the Earl of Clarendon, being then at the head of the 
Foreign Office, the Mission was organized under his imme- 
diate care. When a change of Government ensued, we 
experienced the same generous countenance and sympathy 
from the Earl of Malmesbury, as we had previously received 
from Lord Clarendon ; and, on the accession of Earl Eussell 
to the high office he has so long filled, we were always 
favoured with equally ready attention and the same prompt 
assistance. Thus the conviction was produced that our work 
embodied the principles, not of any one party, but of the 



hearts of the statesmen and of the people of England 
generally". The Expedition owes great obligations to the 
Lords of the Admiralty for their unvarying readiness to 
render us every assistance in their power ; and to the warm- 
hearted and ever-obliging hydrographer to the Admiralty, 
the late Admiral Washington, as a subordinate, but most 
effective agent, our heartfelt gratitude is also due ; and we 
must ever thankfully acknowledge that our efficiency was 
mainly due to the kind services of Admirals Sir Frederick 
Grey, Sir Baldwin Walker, and all the naval officers serving 
under them on the East Coast. Nor must I omit to record 
our obligations to Mr. Skead, E.N. The Luawe was carefully 
sounded and surveyed by this officer, whose skilful and 
zealous labours, both on that river, and afterwards on the 
Lower Zambesi, were deserving of all praise. 

In speaking of what has been done by the Expedition, it 
should always be understood that Dr. Kirk, Mr. Charles 
Livingstone, Mr. E. Thornton, and others composed it. In 
using the plural number they are meant, and I wish to 
bear testimony to the untiring zeal, energy, courage, and 
perseverance with which my companions laboured ; undaunted 
by difficulties, dangers, or hard fare. It is my firm belief 
that, were their services required in any other capacity, they 
might be implicitly relied on to perform their duty like 
men. The reason why Dr. Kirk's name does not appear on 
the title-page of this narrative is, because it is hoped that 
he may give an account of the botany and natural history 
of the Expedition in a separate work from his own pen. He 
collected above four thousand species of plants, specimens of 
most of the valuable woods, of the different native manufac- 
tures, of the articles of food, and of the different kinds of 
cotton from every spot we visited, and a great variety of birds 



and insects ; besides making meteorological observations, 
and affording, as our instructions required, medical assist- 
ance to the natives in every case where he could be of 
any use. 

Charles Livingstone was also fully occupied in his duties 
in following out the general objects of our mission, in en- 
couraging the culture of cotton, in making many magnetic 
and meteorological observations, in photographing so long as 
the materials would serve, and in collecting a large number of 
birds, insects, and other objects of interest. The collections, 
being Government property, have been forwarded to the 
British Museum, and to the Eoyal Botanic Gardens at Kew ; 
and, should Dr. Kirk undertake their description, three or 
four years will be required for the purpose. 

Though collections were made, it was always distinctly 
understood that, however desirable these and our explora- 
tions might be, " Her Majesty's Government attached more 
importance to the moral influence that might be exerted on the 
minds of the natives by a well regulated and orderly household 
of Europeans setting an example of consistent moral conduct 
to all who might witness it ; treating ihe people with kindness, 
and relieving their wants, teaching them to make experi- 
ments in agriculture, explaining to them the more simple 
arts, imparting to them religious instruction as far as they 
are capable of receiving it, and inculcating peace and good 
will to each other." 

It would be tiresome to enumerate in detail all the little 
acts which were performed by us while following out our in- 
structions. As a rule, whenever the steamer stopped to take 
in wood, or for any other purpose, Dr. Kirk and Charles 
Livingstone went ashore to their duties : one of our party, 
who it was intended should navigate the vessel and lay 


down the geographical positions, having failed to answer 
the expectations formed of him, these duties fell chiefly to 
my share. They involved a considerable amount of night 
work, in which I was always cheerfully aided by my com- 
panions, and the results were regularly communicated to our 
warm and ever-ready friend, Sir Thomas Maclear of the 
Koyal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope. While this work 
was going through the press, Ave were favoured with the 
longitudes of several stations determined from observed 
occupations of stars by the moon, and from eclipses and 
reappearances of Jupiter's satellites, by Mr. Mann, the able 
Assistant to the Cape Astronomer Eoyal ; the lunars are still 
in the hands of Mr. G. W. H. Maclear of the same Observa- 
tory. In addition to these, the altitudes, variation of the 
compass, latitudes and longitudes, as calculated on the 
spot, appear in the map by Mr. Arrowsmith, and it is 
hoped may not differ much from the results of the same 
data in abler hands. The office of " skipper," which, 
rather than let the Expedition come to a stand, I under- 
took, required no great ability in one " not too old to 
learn : " it saved a salary, and, what was much more valu- 
able than gold, saved the Expedition from the drawback 
of any one thinking that he was indispensable to its further 
progress. The office required attention to the vessel both at 
rest and in motion. It also involved considerable exposure 
to the sun; and to my regret kept me from much antici- 
pated intercourse with the natives, and the formation of 
full vocabularies of their dialects. 

I may add that all wearisome repetitions are as much 
as possible avoided in the narrative ; and, our movements 
and operations having previously been given in a series of 
despatches, the attempt is now made to give as fairly as 



possible just what would most strike any person of ordinary- 
intelligence in passing through the country. For the sake 
of the freshness which usually attaches to first impressions, 
the Journal of Charles Livingstone has been incorporated 
in the narrative ; and many remarks made by the natives, 
which he put down at the moment of translation, will 
convey to others the same ideas as they did to ourselves. 
Some are no doubt trivial ; but it is by the little acts and 
words of every-day life that character is truly and best 
known. And doubtless many will prefer to draw their 
own conclusions from them rather than to be schooled 
by us. 



Chap. I. 


Eeach the Coast — Explore River Luawe — Mouths of Zambesi — Concealed to 
deceive English cruisers — The deception palmed off on European Govern- 
ments by Ministers in Portugal — Official testimony — Kongone — Scenery 
on the river — Fertility of Delta soil — Colonos or serfs — Deep channel of 
river — Land luggage on Expedition Island — Country in a state of war — 
" Free emigrants" — Atrocities of Mariano — Meet so-called "rebels" — A 
fight between natives and Portuguese — An army waiting for ammunition — 
Birds and beasts met with on the river — Mazaro — The reshipment of 
merchandise there for Quillimane — Shupanga — Zulu dominion on right 
bank of Zambesi — Tribute paid by the Portuguese — Senna and Senhor 
Ferrao — Seguati or present — Hippopotamus hunters — Peculiarity of 
Baobab-trees — Lupata gorge. 

The Expedition left England on the 10th of March, 1858, 
in Her Majesty's Colonial Steamer " Pearl," commanded by 
Captain Duncan ; and, after enjoying the generous hospi- 
tality of our friends at Cape Town, with the obliging atten- 
tions of Sir George Grey, and receiving on board Mr. Francis 
Skead, E.N., as surveyor, we reached the East Coast in the 
following May. 

Our first object was to explore the Zambesi, its mouths 
and tributaries, with a view to their being used as highways 
for commerce and Christianity to pass into the vast interior of 
Africa. When we came within five or six miles of the land, the 
yellowish-green tinge of the sea in soundings was suddenly 
succeeded by muddy water with wrack, as of a river in flood. 
The two colours did not intermingle, but the line of contact 
was as sharply defined as when the ocean meets the land. 
It was observed that under the wrack — consisting of reeds, 

Chap. I. 



sticks, and leaves, — and even under floating cuttlefish bones 
and Portuguese " men-of-war " (Physalia), numbers of small 
fish screen themselves from the eyes of birds of prey, and 
from the rays of the torrid sun. 

The coast is low and covered with mangrove swamps, 
among which are sandy patches clothed with grass, creeping- 
plants, and stunted palms. The land trends nearly east and 
west, without any notable feature to guide the navigator, 
and it is difficult to make out the river's mouth; but the 
water shoals gradually, and each fathom of lessening depth 
marks about a mile. 

We entered the Eiver Luawe first, because its entrance 
is so smooth and deep, that the "Pearl," drawing 9 feet 7 
inches, went in without a boat sounding ahead. A small 
steam launch having been brought out from England in 
three sections on the deck of the "Pearl" was hoisted out 
and screwed together at the anchorage, and with her aid 
the exploration was commenced. She was called the " Ma 
Eobert," after Mrs. Livingstone, to whom the natives, accord- 
ing to their custom, gave the name Ma (mother) of her 
eldest son. The harbour is deep, but shut in by mangrove 
swamps ; and though the water a few miles up is fresh, it 
is only a tidal river ; for, after ascending some seventy miles, 
it was found to end in marshes blocked up with reeds and 
succulent aquatic plants. As the Luawe had been called 
" West Luabo," it was supposed to be a branch of the Zam- 
besi, the main stream of which is called " Luabo," or " East 
Luabo." The " Ma Eobert" and " Pearl" then went to what 
proved to be a real mouth of the river we sought. 

The Zambesi pours its water into the ocean by four 
mouths, namely, the Milambe, which is the most westerly 
the Kongone, the Luabo, and the Timbwe (or Muselo). 


When the river is in flood, a natural canal running parallel 
with the' coast, and winding very much among the swamps, 
forms a secret way for conveying slaves from Quilliniane to 
the bays Massangano and Nameara, or to the Zambesi itself. 
The Kwakwa, or river of Quill imane, some sixty miles distant 
from the mouths of the Zambesi, has long been represented 
as the principal entrance to the Zambesi, in order, as the 
Portuguese now maintain, that the English cruisers might 
be induced to watch the false mouth, while slaves were 
quietly shipped from the true one ; and strange to say this 
error has lately been propagated by a map issued by the 
colonial minister of Portugal.* 

* Stranger still, the Portuguese of- 
ficial paper, "Annaes do Conselho 
Ultramarinho " for 1864 shamelessly 
asserts that "in that harbour (Kon- 
gone), which Dr. Livingstone says he 
discovered, many vessels with slaves 
have taken refuge from the persecu- 
tions of English cruisers." This (shall 
we admit?) was known to the Por- 
tuguese Government ! Would any 
other gentleman in Europe construct 
a map such as that mentioned in the 
text, and send it to the English Go- 
vernment as showing the true mouth 
of the Zambesi ? We did not think of 
printing the following letter from one 
Portuguese official to another in Africa, 
till we saw the poor swagger of the 
Lisbon official paper, evidently in- 
tended for other statesmen in Europe. 
The editor of a Cape paper says — 

" Chevalier Duprat has, by the same 
opportunity, received a communication 
from the Portuguese governor of Tette, 
of which the following is a translation : 

' Sir, — When in the middle of last 
year, was delivered to me by the hands 
of Dr. Livingstone, the letters with 

which your Excellency honoured me, 
under date of April of that same year, 
I was at that moment involved in war 
with the Kafirs of the district of Senna. 
After this, other works, affairs and 
ailing health, prevented me from im- 
mediately addressing to your Excel- 
lency my thanks for the kind expres- 
sions with which I have been honoured 
by you. Your Excellency recom- 
mended to me the illustrious Dr. 
Livingstone. My relations with this 
gentleman are so sympathetic that I 
can never omit rendering him the ser- 
vices winch he requires, and which are 
within my reach. Still, my wishes 
are subordinate to my powers, both 
as an individual and as an authority. 
I am aware how profitable to geo- 
graphical knowledge and science are 
the explorations of the Doctor, as well 
as to the prosperity of this country, — 
as rich as neglected. I sincerely hope 
it will be in my power to help lnm as 
I could w r ish. Nevertheless, I assure 
your Excellency that I will serve him 
as far as lies in my power. It is said 
that our Government is about to es- 

Chap. I. 



After the examination of three branches by the able 
and energetic surveyor, Francis Skead, B.N., the Kongone 
was found to be the best entrance. The immense amount 
of sand brought down by the Zambesi has in the course of 
ages formed a sort of promontory, against which the long 
swell of the Indian Ocean, beating during the prevailing 
winds, has formed bars, which, acting against the waters 
of the delta, may have led to their exit sideways. The 
Kongone is one of these lateral branches, and the safest ; 
inasmuch as the bar has nearly two fathoms on it at low 
water, and the rise at spring tides is from twelve to fourteen 
feet. The bar is narrow, the passage nearly straight, and, 
were it buoyed and a beacon placed on Pearl Island, 
would always be safe to a steamer. When the wind is from 
the east or north, the bar is smooth ; if from the south 
and south-east, it has a heavy break on it, and is not to 
be attempted in boats. A strong current setting to the east 
when the tide is flowing, and to the west when ebbing, 
may drag a boat or ship into the breakers. If one is 
doubtful of his longitude and runs east, he will soon see the 
land at Timbwe disappear away to the north; and coming 

tablish a post at the bar of Luabo ; 
and from there to carry on direct navi- 
gation to this district. Should this 
take place, great advantages will re- 
sult to this country, and to Living- 
stone's great glory, because he was 
the first who passed over from the sea 
by this way of communication. I 
thank your Excellency for the news- 
papers with which you furnished me. 
I appreciate them as articles which 
very seldom appear here. Your Ex- 
cellency also obliged me with some 
seeds; but, unfortunately, I was at 
Mosambique, and having planted them 

this year, they produced little ; I fear 
they were already old. My capability 
for service is very limited, but if your 
Excellency thinks that I can be of any 
use, I shall be most gratified. 
' I have, &c, 

' Tito A. d'A. Sicakd, 

Governor of Tette. 
' Tette, July 9, 1859.' 

" These letters were brought to Natal 
by H.M.'s brig ' Persian,' which had 
called there from Mosambique for 
supplies, and were put on board the 
' Waldensian,' as she steamed out." 




Chap. I. 

west aga^n, he can easily make out East Luabo from its great 
size ; and Kongone follows seven miles west. East Luabo has 
a good but long bar, and not to be attempted unless the wind 
be north-east or east. It has sometimes been called " Barra 
Catrina," and was used in the embarkations of slaves. This 
may have been the "Biver of Good Signs," of Yasco da 
Gama, as the mouth is more easily seen from the seaward 
than any other ; but the absence of the pillar dedicated by 
that navigator to " St. Eaphael," leaves the matter in doubt. 
No Portuguese live within eighty miles of any mouth of the 
Zambesi. The names given by the natives refer more to 
the land on each side than to the streams; thus, one side 
of the Kongone is Nyamisenga, the other Nyangalule ; and 
Kongone, the name of a fish, is applied to one side of the 
natural canal which leads into the Zambesi proper, or Cuama, 
and gives the port its value. 

When a native of the temperate north first lands in the 
tropics, his feelings and emotions resemble in some respects 
those which the First Man may have had on his entrance 
into the Garden of Eden. He has set foot in a new world, 
another state of existence is before him ; everything he sees, 
every sound that falls upon the ear, has all the freshness and 
charm of novelty. The trees and the plants are new, the 
flowers and the fruits, the beasts, the birds, and the insects 
are curious and strange ; the very sky itself is new, glowing 
with colours, or sparkling with constellations, never seen in 
northern climes. 

The Kongone is five miles east of the Milambe, or western 
branch, and seven miles west from East Luabo, which again is 
five miles from the Timbwe. We saw but few natives, and 
these, by escaping from their canoes into the mangrove 
thickets the moment they caught sight of us, gave unmis- 

Chap. I. 



takeable indications that they had no very favourable 
opinion of white men. They were probably fugitives from 
Portuguese slavery. In the grassy glades buffaloes, wart- 
hogs, and three kinds of antelope were- abundant, and the 
latter easily obtained. A few hours' hunting usually pro- 
vided venison enough for a score of men for several days. 

On proceeding up the Kongone branch it was found that, 
by keeping well in the bends, which the current had worn 
deep, shoals were easily avoided. The first twenty miles are 
straight and deep ; then a small and rather tortuous natural 
canal leads off to the right, and, after about five miles, during 
which the paddles almost touch the floating grass of the 
sides, ends in the broad Zambesi. The rest of the Kongone 
• branch comes out of the main stream considerably higher 
up as the outgoing branch called Doto. 

The first twenty miles of the Kongone are enclosed in 
mangrove jungle; some of the trees are ornamented with 
orchilla weed, which appears never to have been gathered. 
Huge ferns, palm bushes, and occasionally wild date- 
palms peer out in the forest, which consists of different 
species of mangroves ; the bunches of bright yellow, though 
scarcely edible fruit, contrasting prettily with the graceful 
green leaves. In some spots the Milola, an umbrageous 
hibiscus, with large yellowish flowers, grows in masses along 
the bank. Its bark is made into cordage, and is especially 
valuable for the manufacture of ropes attached to harpoons 
for killing the hippopotamus. The Pandanus or screw- 
palm, from which sugar-bags are made in the Mauritius, 
also appears, and on coming out of the canal into the 
Zambesi many are so tall as in the distance to remind us of 
the steeples of our native land, and make us relish the 
remark of an old sailor, " that but one thing was wanting to 

c 2 



Chap. I. 

complete the picture, and that was 'a grog-shop near the 
church.' " We find also a few guava and lime-trees growing- 
wild, but the natives claim the crops. The dark woods resound 
with the lively and exultant song of the kinghunter (Halcyon 
striolata), as he sits perched on high among the trees. As 
the steamer moves on through the winding channel, a pretty 
little heron or bright kingfisher darts out in alarm from the 
edge of the bank, flies on ahead a short distance, and settles 
quietly down to be again frightened off in a few seconds 
as we approach. The magnificent fishhawk (Halietus vocifer) 
sits on the top of a mangrove-tree, digesting his morning 
meal of fresh fish, and is clearly unwilling to stir until the 
imminence of the danger compels him at last to spread his 
great wings for flight. The glossy ibis, acute of ear to a re- 
markable degree, hears from afar the unwonted sound of the 
paddles, and, springing from the mud where his family has 
been quietly feasting, is off, screaming out his loud, harsh, 
and defiant Ha ! ha ! ha ! long before the danger is near. 

The mangroves are now left behind and are succeeded by 
vast level plains of rich dark soil, covered with gigantic 
grasses, so tall that they tower over one's head, and render 
hunting impossible. Beginning in July the grass is burned 
off every year after it has become dry. These fires prevent 
the growth of any great amount of timber, as only a few trees 
from among the more hardy kinds, such as the Borassus-palm 
and lignum-vita?, can live through the sea of fire, which 
annually roars across the plains. 

Several native huts now peep out from the bananas and 
cocoa-palms on the right bank ; they stand on piles a few 
feet above the low damp ground, and their owners enter them 
by means of ladders. The soil is wonderfully rich, and the 
gardens are really excellent. Kice is cultivated largely; 

Chap. I. 



sweet potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, cabbages, onions (sha- 
lots), peas, a little cotton, and sugar-cane are also raised. 
It is said that English potatoes, when planted at Quillimane 
on soil resembling this, in the course of two years become 
in taste like sweet potatoes (convolvulus batatas), and are like 
our potato frosted. The whole of the fertile region extending 
from the Kongone canal to beyond Mazaro, some eighty 
miles in length, and fifty in breadth, is admirably adapted for 
the growth of sugar-cane; and were it in the hands of our 
friends at the Cape, would supply all Europe with sugar. 
The remarkably few people seen appeared to be tolerably 
well fed, but there was a shivering dearth of clothing 
among them ; all were blacks, and nearly all Portu- 
guese " colonos " or serfs. They manifested no fear of 
white men, and stood in groups on the bank gazing 
in astonishment at the steamers, especially at the "Pearl," 
which accompanied us thus far up the river. One old 
man who came on board remarked that never before had 
he seen any vessel so large as the "Pearl," it was like a 
village, " Was it made out of one tree ? " All were eager 
traders, and soon came off to the ship in light swift canoes 
with every kind of fruit and food they possessed ; a few 
brought honey and beeswax, which are found in quantities in 
the mangrove forests. As the ships steamed off, many 
anxious sellers ran along the bank, holding up fowls, baskets 
of rice and meal, and shouting " Malonda, Malonda," " things 
for sale," while others followed in canoes, which they sent 
through the water with great velocity by means of short 
broad-bladed paddles. 

The deep channel, or Qwete as the canoe-men call it, 
of the Zambesi is winding, and narrow when con- 
trasted with the great breadth of the river itself. The 


Chap. I. 

river bottom appears to be a succession of immense sub- 
merged sandbanks, having, when the stream is low, from 
one to four feet ot water on them. The main channel runs 
for some distance between the sandbank and the river's 
bank, with a depth in the dry season varying from five to 
fifteen feet, and a current of nearly two knots an hour. It 
then turns and flows along the lower edge of the sandbank 
in a diagonal direction across the river, and continues this 
process, winding from bank to bank repeatedly during the 
day's sail, making expert navigators on the ocean feel help- 
lessly at sea on the river. On these crossings the channel 
is shallowest. It is in general pretty clearly defined. In 
calm weather there is a peculiar boiling up of its water 
from some action below. With a light breeze the Qwete 
assumes a characteristic ripple, and when the wind freshens 
and blows up the river, as it usually does from May to 
November, the waves on it are larger ^han those of other 
parts of the river, and a line of small breakers marks the 
edge of the shoal-bank above. 

Finding the "Pearl's" draught too great for that part 
of the river near the island of Simbo, where the branch 
called the Doto is given off to the Kongone on the right 
bank, and another named Chincle departs to the secret 
canal already mentioned on the left, the goods belonging 
to the expedition were taken out of her, and placed on 
one of the grassy islands about forty miles from the bar. 
The " Pearl * then left us, and we had to part with our good 
friends Duncan and Skead ; the former for Ceylon, the 
latter to return to his duties as Government Surveyor at 
the Cape. 

Of those who eventually did the work of the expedition the 
majority took a sober common-sense view of the enterprise 

Chap. I. 



in which we were engaged. Some remained on Expedition 
Island from the 18th June until the 13th August, while the 
launch and pinnace were carrying the goods up to Shupanga 
and Senna. The country was in a state of war, our luggage 
was in danger, and several of our party were exposed to 
disease from inactivity in the malaria of the Delta. Here 
some had their first introduction to African life, and African 
fever. Those alone were safe who were actively employed 
with the vessels, and of course, remembering the perilous 
position of their fellows, they strained every nerve to finish 
the work and take them away, This was the time, too, for 
the feeble-minded to make a demand for their Sundays of 
rest and full meal-hours, which even our crew of twelve 
Kroomen, though tampered with, had more sense and good- 
feeling than to endorse. It is a pity that some people cannot 
see that the true and honest discharge of the common duties 
of every-day life is Divine Service. 

The weather was delightful, with only an occasional shower 
or cold foggy morning. Those who remained on the island 
made the most of their time, taking meteorological and 
magnetical observations, and botanizing, so far as the dried 
vegetation would allow. No one seemed to place much 
reliance on the " official report " of two naval commanders, 
who now, after about a fortnight's experience in the Zambesi, 
solemnly declared it to be " more like an inland-sea than a 
river, with a climate like that of Italy, and infinitely more 
healthy than any river on the West Coast :" but, by the 
leader's advice, each began to examine and to record his 
observations for himself, and did not take even his chiefs 
previous experience as infallible. 

Large columns of smoke rose daily from different points 
of the horizon, showing that the natives were burning off the 



Chap. I. 

immense crops of tall grass, here a nuisance, however valuable 
elsewhere.' A white cloud was often observed to rest on 
the head of the column, as if a current of hot damp air 
was sent up by the heat of the flames and its moisture was 
condensed at the top. Kaia did not follow, though theorists 
have imagined that in such cases it ought. 

Large game, buffaloes, and zebras, were abundant abreast 
the island, but no men could be seen. On the mainland, 
over on the right bank of the river, we were amused by the 
eccentric gyrations and evolutions of flocks of small seed- 
eating birds, who in then* flight wheeled into compact 
columns with such military precision as to give us the 
impression that they must be guided by a leader, and 
all directed by the same signal. Several other kinds of 
small birds now go in flocks, and among others the large 
Senegal swallow. The presence of this bird, being clearly in 
a state of migration from the north, while the common 
swallow of the country, and the brown kite are away beyond 
the equator, leads to the conjecture that there may be a 
double migration, namely, of birds from torrid climates to the 
more temperate, as this now is, as well as from severe 
winters to sunny regions ; but this could not be verified by 
such birds of passage as ourselves. 

On reaching Mazaro, the mouth of a narrow creek which 
in floods communicates with the Quillimane river, we found 
that the Portuguese were at war with a half-caste named 
Mariano alias Matakenya, from whom they had generally 
fled, and who, having built a stockade near the mouth of 
the Shire, owned all the country between that river and 
Mazaro. Mariano was best known by his native name Mata- 
kenya, which in their tongue means " trembling," or quiver- 
ing as trees do in a storm. He was a keen slave-hunter, and 

Chap. I. 



kept a large number of men, well armed with muskets. It 
is an entire mistake to suppose that the slave-trade is one of 
buying and selling alone ; or that engagements can be made 
with labourers in Africa as they are in India ; Mariano, like 
other Portuguese, had no labour to spare. He had been in 
the habit of sending out armed parties on slave hunting- 
forays among the helpless tribes to the north-east, and 
carrying down the kidnapped victims in chains to Quilli- 
mane, where they were sold by his brother-in-law Cruz 
Coimbra, and shipped as " Free emigrants " to the French 
island of Bourbon. So long as his robberies and murders 
were restricted to the natives at a distance, the authorities 
did not interfere ; but his men, trained to deeds of violence 
and bloodshed in their slave forays, naturally began to 
practise on the people nearer at hand, though belonging 
to the Portuguese, and even in the village of Senna, under 
the guns of the fort. A gentleman of the highest standing 
told us that, while at dinner with his family, it was no un- 
common event for a slave to rush into the room pursued 
by one of Mariano's men with spear in hand to murder him. 

The atrocities of this villain, aptly termed' by the late 
governor of Quillimane a " notorious robber and murderer," 
became at length intolerable. All the Portuguese spoke of 
him as a rare monster of inhumanity. It is unaccountable 
why half-castes, such as he, are so much more cruel than 
the Portuguese, but such is undoubtedly the case. 

It was asserted that one of his favourite modes of creating 
an impression in the country, and making his name dreaded, 
was to spear his captives with his own hands. On one 
occasion he is reported to have thus killed forty poor 
wretches placed in a row before him. We did not at first 
credit these statements, and thought that they were merely 


exaggerations of the incensed Portuguese, who natural] y 
enough were exasperated with him for stopping their trade, 
and harbouring their runaway slaves ; but we learned after- 
wards from the natives, that the accounts given us by the 
Portuguese had not exceeded the truth ; and that Mariano 
was quite as great a ruffian as they had described him. 
One expects slave-owners to treat their human chattels as 
well as men do other animals of value, but the slave-trade 
seems always to engender an unreasoning ferocity, if not 

War was declared against Mariano, and a force sent to take 
him ; he resisted for a time ; but seeing that he was likely to 
get the worst of it, and knowing that the Portuguese gover- 
nors have small salaries, and are therefore " disposed to be 
reasonable," he went down to Quillimane to " arrange " with 
the Governor, as it is termed here; but Colonel da Silva 
put him in prison, and then sent him for trial to Mosambique. 
When we came into the country, his people were fighting 
under his brother Bonga. The war had lasted six months 
and stopped all trade on the river during that period. On 
the 15th June we first came into contact with the " rebels." 
They appeared as a crowd of well-armed and fantastically- 
dressed people under the trees at Mazaro. On explaining 
that we were English, some at once came on board and called 
to those on shore to lay aside their arms. On landing among 
them we saw that many had the branded marks of slaves 
on their chests, but they warmly approved our objects, and 
knew well the distinctive character of our nation on the 
slave question. The shout at our departure contrasted 
strongly with the suspicious questioning on our approach. 
Henceforth we were recognised as friends by both parties. 

At a later period we were taking in wood within a mile of 


the scene of action, but a dense fog prevented our hearing the 
noise of a battle at Mazaro ; and on arriving there, imme- 
diately after, many natives and Portuguese appeared on the 

Dr. Livingstone, landing to salute some of his old 
friends among the latter, found himself in the sickening 
smell, and among the mutilated bodies of the slain ; he was 
requested to take the Governor, who was very ill of fever, 
across to Shupanga, and just as he gave his assent, the rebels 
renewed the fight, and the balls began to whistle about in 
all directions. After trying in vain to get some one to assist 
the Governor down to the steamer, and unwilling to leave 
him in such danger, as the officer sent to bring our Kroomen 
did not appear, he went into the hut, and dragged along his 
Excellency to the ship. He was a very tall man, and as he 
swayed hither and thither from weakness, weighing down 
Dr. Livingstone, it must have appeared like one drunken man 
helping another. Some of the Portuguese white soldiers 
stood fighting with great bravery against the enemy in 
front, while a few were coolly shooting at their own slaves 
for fleeing into the river behind. The rebels soon retired, 
and the Portuguese escaped to a sandbank in the Zambesi, 
and thence to an island opposite Shupanga, where they lay for 
some weeks, looking at the rebels on the mainland opposite. 
This state of inactivity on the part of the Portuguese 
could not well be helped, as they had expended all their am- 
munition and were waiting anxiously for supplies; hoping, 
no doubt, sincerely that the enemy might not hear that 
their powder had failed. Luckily their hopes were not 
disappointed ; the rebels waited until a supply came, and 
were then repulsed after three-and-a-half hours' hard fighting. 
Two months afterwards Mariano's stockade was burned, 


Chap. I. 

the garrison having fled in a panic ; and as Bonga declared 
that he did not wish to fight with this Governor, with whom 
he had no quarrel, the war soon came to an end. His 
Excellency meanwhile, being a disciple of liaspail, had 
taken nothing for the fever but a little camphor, and 
after he was taken to Shupanga became comatose. More 
potent remedies were administered to him, to his intense 
disgust, and he soon recovered. The Colonel in attendance, 
whom he never afterwards forgave, encouraged the treat- 
ment. " Give what is right ; never mind him ; he is very 
(muito) impertinent : " and all night long, with every draught 
of water the Colonel gave a quantity of quinine : the con- 
sequence was, next morning the patient was cinchonized and 
better. The sketch opposite represents the scene of action, 
and is interesting in an historical point of view, because the 
opening in which a large old canoe, with a hole in its bottom, 
is seen lying on its side, is the mouth of the creek Mutu, 
which in 1861 appeared in a map published by the Portu- 
guese " Minister of Marine and the Colonies " as that through 
which the chief portion of the Zambesi, here about a mile 
wide, flowed to Quillimane. In reality this creek, eight or 
ten yards wide, is filled with grass, and its bed is six feet or 
more above the level of the Zambesi. The side of the creek 
opposite to the canoe is seen in the right of the picture, and 
sloping down from the bed to one of the dead bodies, may be 
marked the successive heights at which the water of the 
main stream stood from flood time in March to its medium 
height in June. 

For sixty or seventy miles before reaching Mazaro, the 
scenery is tame and uninteresting. On either hand is a 
dreary uninhabited expanse, of the same level grassy plains, 
with merely a few trees to relieve the painful monotony. 

Chap. I. 



The round green top of the stately palm-tree looks at a 
distance, when its grey trunk cannot be seen, as though hung 
in mid-air. Many flocks of busy sandmartins, which here, 
and as far south as the Orange Kiver, do not migrate, have 
perforated the banks two or three feet horizontally, in order 
to place their nests at the ends, and are now chasing on rest- 
less wing the myriads of tropical insects. The broad river 
has many low islands, on which are seen various kinds of 
waterfowl, such as geese, spoonbills, herons, and flamingoes, 
Kepulsive crocodiles, as with open jaws they sleep and bask 
in the sun on the low banks, soon catch the sound of the 
revolving paddles and glide quietly into the stream. The 
hippopotamus, having selected some still reach of the river 
to spend the day, rises from the bottom, where he has been 
enjoying his morning bath after the labours of the night on 
shore, blows a puff of spray out of his nostrils, shakes the 
water out of his ears, puts his enormous snout up straight 
and yawns, sounding a loud alarm to the rest of the herd, 
with notes as of a monster bassoon. 

As we approach Mazaro the scenery improves. We see 
the well-wooded Shupanga ridge stretching to the left, and 
in front blue hills rise dimly far in the distance. There is no 
trade whatever on the Zambesi below Mazaro. All the 
merchandise of Senna and Tette is brought to that point in 
large canoes, and thence carried six miles across the country 
on men's heads to be reshipped on a small stream that 
flows into the Kwakwa, or Quillimane river, which is entirely 
distinct from the Zambesi. Only on rare occasions and 
during the highest floods can canoes pass from the Zambesi 
to the Quillimane river through the narrow natural canal 
Mutu. The natives of Maruru or the country around Mazaro., 
the word Mazaro meaning the "mouth of the creek " 



CHAr. I. 

Mutu, have a bad name among the Portuguese ; they are 
said to be expert thieves, and the merchants sometimes 
suffer from their adroitness while the goods are in transit 
from one river to the other. In general they are trained 
canoe-men, and man many of the canoes that ply thence 
to Senna and Tette ; their pay is small, and, not trusting 
the traders, they must always have it before they start. 
Africans being prone to assign plausible reasons for their 
conduct, like white men in more enlightened lands, it is 
possible they may be goodhumouredly giving their reason 
for insisting on being invariably paid in advance in the 
words of their favourite car.oe-song, " Uachingere, Uachingere 
Kale," " You cheated me of old ; " or, " Thou art slippery, 
slippery truly." 

The Landeens or Zulus are lords of the right bank of the 
Zambesi ; and the Portuguese, by paying this fighting tribe a 
pretty heavy annual tribute, practically admit this. Kegularly 
every year come the Zulus in force to Senna and Shupanga 
for their accustomed tribute. The few wealthy merchants of 
Senna groan under the burden, for it falls chiefly on them. 
They submit to pay annually 200 pieces of cloth, of sixteen 
yards each, besides beads and brass wire, knowing that 
refusal involves war, which might end in the loss of all they 
possess. The Zulus appear to keep as sharp a look-out on 
the Senna and Shupanga people as ever landlord did on 
tenant ; the more they cultivate, the more tribute they 
have to pay. On asking some of them why they did not 
endeavour to raise certain highly profitable products, we were 
answered, " What's the use of our cultivating any more than 
we do? the Landeens would only come down on us for more 


In the forests of Shupanga the Mokundu-kundu tree 

Chap. I. 



abounds ; its bright yellow wood makes good boat-masts, 
and yields a strong bitter medicine for fever ; the Gunda-tree 
attains to an immense size ; its timber is hard, rather cross- 
grained, with masses of silica deposited in its substance; 
the large canoes, capable of carrying three or four tons, are 
made of its wood. For permission to cut these trees, a Por- 
tuguese gentleman of Quillimane was paying the Zulus, in 
1858, two hundred dollars a year, and his successor now pays 
three hundred. 

At Shupanga, a one-storied stone house stands on the 
prettiest site on the river. In front a sloping lawn, with a 
fine mango orchard at its southern end, leads down to the 
broad Zambesi, whose green islands repose on the sunny 
bosom of the tranquil waters. Beyond, northwards, lie vast 
fields and forests of palms and tropical trees, with the 
massive mountain of Morambala towering amidst the white 
clouds ; and further away more distant hills appear in the 
blue horizon. This beautifully situated house possesses a 
melancholy interest from having been associated in a most 
mournful manner with the history of two English expedi- 
tions. Here, in 1826, poor Kirkpatrick, of Captain Owen's 
Surveying Expedition, died of fever; and here, in 1862, died, 
of the same fatal disease, the beloved wife of Dr. Livingstone. 
A hundred yards east of the house, under a large Baobab- 
tree, far from their native land, both are buried. 

The Shupanga-house was the head-quarters of the Governor 
during the Mariano war. He told us that the province of 
Mosambique costs the Home Government between 5000?. and 
6000Z. annually, and East Africa yields no reward in return 
to the mother country. We met there several other influen- 
tial Portuguese. All seemed friendly, and expressed their 
willingness to assist the expedition in every way in their power ; 



and better still, Colonel Nunes and Major Sicard put their 
good- will into action, by cutting wood for the steamer and 
sending men to help in unloading. It was observable that not 
one of them knew anything about the Kongone Mouth ; all 
thought that we had come in by the " Barra Catrina," or East 
Luabo.* Dr. Kirk remained here a few weeks ; and, besides 
exploring a small lake twenty miles to the south-west, had the 
sole medical care of the sick and wounded soldiers, for which 
valuable services he received the thanks of the Portuguese 
Government. We wooded up at this place with African ebony 
or black wood, and lignum vitse ; the latter tree attains an 
immense size, sometimes as much as four feet in diameter; 
our engineer, knowing what ebony and lignum vitse cost at 
home, said it made his heart sore to burn woods so valuable. 
Though botanically different, they are extremely alike ; the 
black wood as grown in some districts is superior, and 
the lignum vitas inferior in quality, to these timbers brought 
from other countries. Caoutchouc, or India-rubber, is found 
in abundance inland from Shupanga-house, and calumba-root 
is plentiful in the district ; indigo, in quantities, propagates 
itself close to the banks of the river, and was probably at some 
time cultivated, for manufactured indigo was once exported. 
The India-rubber is made into balls for a game resembling 
" fives," and calumba-root is said to be used as a mordant 
for certain colours, but not as a dye itself. 

* The reason of their w ant of know- 
ledge — in which, notwithstanding the 
tone subsequently assumed in official 
papers, the Government at Lisbon un- 
questionably shared— was probably, as 
we conjecture, its recent formation. 
During the period of our acquaintance 
with the Kongone, about eighty yards 

were washed away on one side and 
deposited on the other. A navigable 
channel by Nyangalule was quite filled 
up, and Pearl Island nearly all washed 
away. As nothing whatever is done 
to preserve the channel, it will soon 
be as shallow as the Milambe, and 
entirely useless for navigation. 

Chap. I. 



We started for Tette on the 17th August, 1858; the 
navigation was rather difficult, the Zambesi from Shupanga 
to Senna being wide and full of islands; our black pilot, 
John Scissors, a serf, sometimes took the wrong channel and 
ran us aground. Nothing abashed, he would exclaim in an 
aggrieved tone, "This is not the path, it is back yonder." 
"Then why didn't you go yonder at first?" growled out our 
Kroomen, who had the work of getting the vessel off. When 
they spoke roughly to poor Scissors, the weak cringing slave- 
spirit came forth in, " Those men scold me so, I am ready 
to run away." This mode of finishing up an engagement is 
not at all uncommon on the Zambesi ; several cases occurred, 
when we were on the river, of hired crews decamping with 
most of the goods in their charge. If the trader cannot 
redress his own wrongs, he has to endure them. The Landeens 
will not surrender a fugitive slave, even to his master. One 
belonging to Mr. Azevedo fled, and was, as a great favour 
only, returned after a present of much more than his value. 

Our steamer's badly-constructed furnaces consumed a 
frightful amount of wood. Fires were lighted at two in 
the morning, but steam was seldom up before six. A 
great deal of time was lost in wood-cutting. The large 
heavy-laden country canoes could nearly keep up with us, 
and the small ones shot ahead, and the paddlers looked 
back in wonder and pity at the slow puffing " Asthmatic." 
For us, steam was no labour-saving power ; boats, or canoes 
even, would have done for the expedition all that it did, 
with half the toil and expense. 

We landed to wood at Shamoara, just below the confluence 
of the Shire. Its quartz hills are covered with trees and 
gigantic grasses ; the buaze, a small forest-tree, grows abun- 
dantly; it is a species of polygala; its beautiful clusters 




Chap. I. 

of sweet-scented pinkish flowers perfume the air with a 
rich fragrance ; its seeds produce a fine drying oil, and 
the bark of the smaller branches yields a fibre finer and 
stronger than flax; with which the natives make their nets 
for fishing. Bonga, the brother of the rebel Mariano, and 
now at the head of the revolted natives, with some of 
his principal men came to see us, and were perfectly 
friendly, though told of our having carried the sick Governor 
across to Shupanga, and of our having cured him of fever. 
On our acquainting Bonga with the object of the expe- 
dition, he remarked that we should suffer no hindrance 
from his people in our good work. He sent us a pre- 
sent of rice, two sheep, and a quantity of fire-wood. He 
never tried to make any use of us in the strife; the other 
side showed less confidence, by carefully cross-questioning 
our pilot whether , we had sold any powder to the enemy. 
We managed, however, to keep on good terms with both 
rebels and Portuguese. 

Being unable to take the steamer up the shoal channel 
along which Senna stands, we anchored at Nyaruka, a small 
hamlet of blacks, six miles below, and walked up to 
Senna next morning. The narrow winding footpath, along 
which we had to march in Indian file, lay through gardens 
and patches of wood, the loftiest trees being thorny acacias. 
The sky was cloudy, the air cool and pleasant, and the 
little birds, in the gladness of their hearts, poured forth 
sweet strange songs, which, though equal to those of the 
singing birds at home on a spring morning, yet seemed, 
somehow, as if in a foreign tongue. We met many natives 
on the road. Most of the men were armed with spears, bows 
and arrows, or old Tower muskets ; the women had short- 
handled iron hoes, and were going to work in the gardens ; 

Chap. I. 



they stepped aside to let us pass, and saluted us politely, the 
men bowing and scraping, and the women, even with heavy 
loads on their heads, curtseying — a curtsey from bare legs 
is startling ! 

Senna is built on a low plain, on the right bank of 
the Zambesi, with some pretty detached hills in the back- 
ground; it is surrounded by a stockade of living trees to 
protect its inhabitants from their troublesome and rebellious 
neighbours. It contains a few large houses, some ruins of 
others, and a weatherbeaten cross, where once stood a church ; 
a mound shows the site of an ancient monastery, and 
a mud fort by the river is so dilapidated, that cows were 
grazing peacefully over its prostrate walls. This grieves not 
the villagers, for its black garrison was wont to keep within 
doors when the foe came near, leaving the merchants to 
settle the strife as best they could ; and they therefore consider 
that the decay of the fort has not caused them to be any more 
helpless than they were before. 

The few Senna merchants, having little or no trade in the 
village, send parties of trusted slaves into the interior to hunt 
for, and purchase ivory. It is a dull place, and very conducive 
to sleep. One is sure to take fever in Senna on the second 
day, if by chance one escapes it on the first day of a sojourn 
there ; but no place is entirely bad. Senna has one re- 
deeming feature : it is the native village of the large-hearted 
and hospitable Senhor H. A. Ferrao. The benevolence of 
this gentleman is unbounded. The. poor black stranger 
passing through the town goes to him almost as a matter of 
course for food, and is never sent away hungry. In times 
of famine the starving natives are fed by his generosity; 
hundreds of his own people he never sees except on these 
occasions; and the only benefit derived from being their 

d 2 



Chap. I. 

master is, that they lean on him as a patriarchal chief, and he 
has the satisfaction of settling their differences, and of saving 
their lives in seasons of drought and scarcity. His father, a 
man of superior attainments, was formerly the Portuguese 
governor of Senna, and acquired a vast tract of rich country 
to the southward, called Chiringoma, in a most honourable 
manner ; but the Government ordered it to be split up, and 
reserved two leagues only for the heir, apportioning the rest 
in free grants to emigrants ; the reason assigned for the 
robbery, was that " It would never do for a subject to possess 
more land than the crown of Portugal." The Landeens soon 
followed, took possession of the whole, and spoiled the spoilers. 

Senhor Ferrao received us with his usual kindness, and gave 
us a bountiful breakfast. During the day the principal men 
of the place called, and were unanimously oT opinion that the 
free natives would willingly cultivate large quantities of 
cotton, could they find purchasers. They had in former times 
exported largely both cotton and cloth to Manica and even to 
Brazil. " On their own soil," they declared, "the natives are 
willing to labour and trade, provided only they can do so to 
advantage : when it is for their interest, blacks work very 
hard." We often remarked subsequently that this was the 
opinion of men of energy ; and that all settlers of activity, 
enterprise, and sober habits had become rich, while those who 
were much addicted to lying on their backs smoking inva- 
riably complained of the laziness of the negroes, and were poor, 
proud, and despicable. We dined with another very honourable 
Portuguese, Major Tito A. d'A. Sicard, who quoted the common 
remark that Dr. Livingstone's discovery of the Kongone Bar 
had ruined Quillimane ; for the Government had proposed 
to abandon that fever-haunted locality, and to found a new 
town at the mouth of the Kongone. It was not then known 

Chap. I, 



that householders in the old village preferred to resign all 
offices rather than remove. The Major had a great 
desire to assist Dr. Livingstone in his enterprise; and 
said that when the war was past he would at once take up 
his goods to Tette in canoes ; and this he afterwards most 
generous] y did. While returning to Nyaruka, we heard a 
bird like a nightingale pouring forth its sweet melody in 
the stillness of the evening. 

A picturesque range of lofty hills commences on the left 
bank opposite Senna, and runs in a northerly direction, nearly 
parallel with the river. Here we first fell in with that fine 
antelope, the koodoo {Antelope strepsiceros). Some miles above 
Senna is the island of Pita, with a considerable native 
population, which appeared to be well off for food. A half- 
caste, claiming to be the headman, came on board, and 
gave us a few ears of green maize as a "seguati." This 
is not an ordinary present, but a very small gift, which 
is to win back to the donor at least twice its value. When 
a stingy native has a tough little fowl, or a few ears of Indian 
corn, the value of which is hardly appreciable, — as a dozen of 
their best fowls only cost two yards of cloth (once threepence 
a yard), and a basket of maize but half a yard, — he forms it 
into a "seguati," his heart overflowing with that gratitude 
once described as a lively sense of favours to come, and 
is rather disappointed if he does not get twice the value 
in return. We soon learned to dislike " seguati " from com- 
mon people, but it was in vain to say to the shrewd African, 
" Sell it ; we will buy it." " Oh, no, sir ; it is a seguati ; it is 
not for sale," was the invariable reply. As it is understood 
to be a compliment, we always submitted to this customary 
politeness from headmen. To have done otherwise would 
have seemed to ourselves like ungracious manners from the 



Chap. L 

rich and exalted to the poor and lowly. When private 
persons attempted it, we declined. 

Beyond Pita lies the little island 
Nyaniotobsi, where we met a small 
fugitive tribe of hippopotamus hunt- 
ers, who had been driven by war 
from their own island in front. All 
were busy at work ; some were mak- 
ing gigantic baskets for grain, the 
men plaiting from the inside. With 
the civility so common among them 
the chief ordered a mat to be spread 
for us under a shed, and then showed 
us the weapon with which they kill 
the hippopotamus ; it is a short iron 
harpoon inserted in the end of a 
long pole, but being intended to 
unship, it is made fast to a strong 
cord of milola, or hibiscus, bark, 
which is wound closely round the 
entire length of the shaft, and se- 
cured at its opposite end. Two men 
in a swift canoe steal quietly down 
on the sleeping animal. The bow- 
man dashes the harpoon into the 
unconscious victim, while the quick 
steersman sweeps the light craft 
back with his broad paddle; the 
force of the blow separates the har- 
poon from its corded handle, which, 
appearing on the surface, some- 
times with an inflated bladder attached, guides the hunters 

Chap. I. 



to where the wounded beast hides below until they des- 
patch it. 

These hippopotamus hunters form a separate people, called 
Akombwi, or Mapodzo, and rarely — the women it is said never 
— intermarry with any other tribe. The reason for their keep- 
ing aloof from certain of the natives on the Zambesi is obvious 
enough, some having as great an abhorrence of hippopotamus 
meat as Mahomedans have of swine's flesh. Our pilot, Scissors, 
was one of this class ; he would not even cook his food in a pot 
which had contained hippopotamus meat, preferring to go 
hungry till he could find another ; and yet he traded eagerly 
in the animal's tusks, and ate with great relish the flesh of 
the foul-feeding marabout. These hunters go out frequently 
on long expeditions, taking in their canoes their wives and 
children, cooking-pots, and sleeping-mats. When they reach 
a good game district, they erect temporary huts on the bank, 
and there dry the meat they have killed. They are rather a 
comely-looking race, with very black smooth skins, and never 
disfigure themselves with the frightful ornaments of some of 
the other tribes. The chief declined to sell a harpoon, because 
they could not now get the milola bark from the coast on 
account of Mariano's war. He expressed some doubts about 
our being children of the same Almighty Father, remarking 
that "they could not become white, let them wash ever so 
much." We made him a present of a bit of cloth, and he 
very generously gave us in return some fine fresh fish and 
Indian corn. 

The heat of the weather steadily increases during this month 
(August), and foggy mornings are now rare. A strong breeze 
ending in a gale blows up stream every night. It came in the- 
afternoon a few weeks ago, then later, and at present its ar- 
rival is near midnight ; it makes our frail cabin-doors fly open* 



Chap. I. 

before it, but continues only for a short time, and is succeeded 
by a dead calm. Game becomes more abundant ; near our 
wooding-places we see herds of zebras, both Burcheli's and 
the mountain variety, pallahs (Antelope melampus), waterbuck, 
and wild hogs, with the spoor of buffaloes and elephants. 

Shiramba Dembe, on the right bank, is deserted ; a few 
old iron guns show where a rebel stockade once stood ; near 
the river above this, stands a magnificent Baobab hollowed 
out into a good-sized hut, with bark inside as well as without. 
The old oaks in Sherwood Forest, when hollow, have the 
inside dead or rotten ; but the Baobab, though stripped of 
its bark outside, and hollowed to a cavity inside, has the 
power of exuding new bark from its substance to both the 
outer and inner surfaces ; so, a hut made like that in the oak 
called the " Forest Queen," in Sherwood, would soon all be 
lined with bark. 

The portions of the river called Shigogo and Shipanga 
are bordered by a low level expanse of marshy country, with 
occasional clumps of palm-trees and a few thorny acacias. 
The river itself spreads out to a width of from three to four 
miles, with many islands, among which it is difficult to navi- 
gate, except when the river is in flood. In front, a range 
of high hills from the north-east crosses and compresses 
it into a deep narrow channel, called the Lupata Gorge. 
The Portuguese thought the steamer would not stem the 
current here; but as it was not more than about three 
knots, and as there was a strong breeze in our favour, steam 
and sails got her through with ease. Heavy-laden canoes 
take two days to go up this pass. A current sweeps 
round the little rocky promontories Chifura and Kangomba, 
forming whirlpools and eddies dangerous for the clumsy 
craft, which are dragged past with long ropes. 

^-t^Utl nun Tll^ 

•Chap. I. KFVEK DEITIES. 41 

The paddlers place meal on these rocks as an offering 
to the turbulent deities, which they believe preside over 
spots fatal to many a large canoe. We were slily told 
that native Portuguese take off their hats to these river 
gods, and pass in solemn silence ; when safely beyond the 
promontories, they fire muskets, and, as we ought to 

t 0 

do, give the canoe-men grog. /Trom the spoor of buffaloes 
and elephants it appears that these animals frequent 
Lupata in considerable numbers, and — we have often 
observed the association — the tsetse flv is common. A 
horse for the Governor of Tette was sent in a canoe from 
-Quillimane; and, lest it should be wrecked on the Chifura 
and Kangomba rocks, it was put on shore and sent in the 
daytime through the pass. It was of course bitten by the 
tsetse, and died soon after; it was thought that the air of 
Tette had not agreed with it. I The currents above Lupata are 
stronger than those below*^ the country becomes more pic- 
turesque and hilly, and there is a larger population. Within 
a few miles of Tette are numerous ruins of stone houses, 
which were destroyed some years ago by hostile natives. On 
our approaching the village, crowds of people, chiefly blacks, 
appeared on the beach gazing in astonishment at the steamer, 
and, by the motions of their arms, demonstrating to others 
further off the manner in which the paddles revolved. 



Meet Makololo at Tette — Murder of six of them by Bonga, the son of Nyaude 

— Ravages of smallpox — Makololo supported not according to public orders, 
but by the private bounty of Major Sicard — Convict class called " Incor- 
rigibles " — Superstitions about mangoes, coflfee, and rain-making — Securing 
slaves by means of domestic ties — Case of voluntary slavery — Cruel nature 
of half-castes — Native love of trade — Native medical profession — Elephant 
and crocodile schools of medicine — Dice doctors and their use as detective 
police — Senna and indigo plants — Coal, gold, and iron — Ascent to Kebra- 
basa Rapids — Black glaze on rocks — Tribe of Badema — A traveller's tale 

— The river Luia — Hippopotamus flesh — Difficult travelling — Curative 
sleep — Sunstroke — Morumbwa Cataract — Kebrabasa surveyed from end 
to end. 

The ship anchored in the stream, off Tette, on the 8th 
September, 1858, and Dr. Livingstone went ashore in the 
boat. No sooner did the Makololo* recognise him, than they 
rushed to the water's edge, and manifested great joy at seeing 
him again. Some were hastening to embrace him, but others 
cried out, " Don't touch him, you will spoil his new clothes." 
The five headmen came on board and listened in quiet sadness 
to the story of poor Sekwebu, who died at the Mauritius on his 
way to England. " Men die in any country," they observed, 
and then told us that thirty of their own number had died 
of smallpox, having been bewitched by the people of Tette, 
who envied them because, during the first year, none of 
their party had died. Six of their young men, becoming 

* Makololo, Manganja, Ajawa, Ba- 
toka, Matebele, Babisa, Bawe, &c. &c, 
are all plural nouns ; Ma, Ba, A, being 
plural prefixes which the Arabs change 
into Wa, as Wanyassa, the people of 

Nyassa, or Manganja, "Wabisa, who 
call themselves Babisa, and sometimes 
Avisa. It has not been deemed ne- 
cessary to add s to words already 

Chap. II. 



tired of cutting firewood for a meagre pittance, proposed 
to go and dance for gain before some of the neighbouring 
Chiefs. " Don't go," said the others, " we don't know the 
people of this country ; " but the young men set out and 
visited an independent half-caste Chief, a few miles to the north, 
named Chisaka, who some years ago burned all the Portuguese 
villas on the north bank of the river ; afterwards the young 
men went to Bonga, son of another half-caste Chief, who bade 
defiance to the Tette authorities, and had a stockade at the 
confluence of the Zambesi and Luenya, a few miles below that 
village.* Asking the Makololo whence they came, Bonga 
rejoined, " Why do you come from my enemy to me ? You 
have brought witchcraft medicine to kill me." In vain they 
protested that they did not belong to the country ; they were 
strangers, and had come from afar with an Englishman. The 
superstitious savage put them all to death. "We do not 
grieve," said their companions, " for the thirty victims of the 
smallpox, who were taken away by Morimo (God) ; but our 
hearts are sore for the six youths who were murdered by 
Bonga." Any hope of obtaining justice on the murderer was 
out of the question. Bonga once caught a captain of the Por- 
tuguese army, and forced him to perform the menial labour of 
pounding maize in a wooden mortar. No punishment fol- 
lowed on this outrage. The Government of Lisbon has since 
given Bonga the honorary title of Captain, by way of coaxing 
him to own their authority ; but he still holds his stockade. 
One of the headmen remarked " that they had some pigs ; 

* This is not that Bonga, brother of 
Mariano, who was carrying on war in 
another quarter : the word means a 
" tiger-cat ;" and this was the son of 
Nyaude, who, when the whole force 

of Tette was mustered at the Luenya, 
was sent up the opposite bank by his 
father, and burned all the village, save 
the church and fort. 


they wished they had been oxen, but they were only pigs." 
" Would the Doctor eat pig ? " " Why do you ask ? " rejoined 
another ; " if he won't, his people will." When parting 
they remarked, "We shall sleep to-night." The use of 
the Eesidencia or Government-house was kindly given us 
by Major Tito A. d'A. Sicarcl ; it is a stone house of one 
story, thatched with grass, its windows of cloth, and the floors 
of clay. The Makololo carried up our goods, the minstrel 
of the party, called Singeleka, followed jingling his native 
bells, and chanting an energetic song extemporised for the 
occasion. Some readers may remember that when Dr. Living- 
stone was in England, it was commonly reported that the Portu- 
guese Government had sent out orders to have the Makololo 
supported at the public expense until he returned to take them 
back to their own country. This generous sympathy on the 
part of the Ministers in Lisbon gratified many English philan- 
thropists, and, relieving the Doctor's mind from anxiety, gave 
him time to prepare his journal for the press before setting out 
again to his work. When our own Government promises to 
perform any thing, no one in his senses ever doubts their word 
of honour ; and for this reason the English people and the 
English Government naturally err by giving too ready credit 
to the assurances of Governments, whose moral tone is pitched 
much lower than their own. The Makololo never heard of the 
order from Portugal, and the Portuguese authorities at Tette 
were in profound ignorance of its existence. The pay of the 
officials, in fact, was several years in arrear, and for His Most 
Faithful Majesty's Government to pretend to order them to 
feed a hundred men out of their own private means looked a 
little like the not unusual kind of benevolence of being generous 
with other people's property. The poor fellows had to go 
far to cut wood, and then hawk it round the village to buy a 

Chap. II. 



little food. They received no aid from the Mosarabique 
Government; but Major Sicard did assist them most gene- 
rously at his own cost, and also gave them land and hoes 
to raise some food for themselves. 

Tette stands on a succession of low sandstone ridges on the 
right bank of the Zambesi, which is here nearly a thousand 
yards wide (960 yards). Shallow ravines, running parallel 
with the river, form the streets, the houses being built on the 
ridges. The whole surface of the streets, except narrow foot- 
paths, were overrun with self-sown indigo, and tons of it might 
have been collected. In fact indigo, senna, and stramonium, 
with a species of cassia, form the weeds of the place, which are 
annually hoed off and burned, A wall of stone and mud sur- 
rounds the village, and the native population live in huts out- 
side. The fort and the church, near the river, are the 
strongholds ; the natives having a salutary dread of the guns 
of the one, and a superstitious fear of the unknown power of 
the other. The number of white inhabitants is small, and 
rather select, many of them having been considerately 
sent out of Portugal " for their country's good." The 
military element preponderates in society; the convict and 
" incorrigible " class of soldiers, receiving very little pay, 
depend in great measure on the produce of the gardens of 
their black wives ; the moral condition of the resulting 
population may be imagined. Even the officers seldom 
receive their pay from Government ; but, being of an enter- 
prising spirit, they contrive to support themselves by mar- 
rying the daughters or widows of wealthy merchants ; and 
trade in ivory by means of the slaves, of whom they thus 
become the masters. 

Droughts are of frequent occurrence at Tette, and the crops 
suffer severely. This may arise partly from the position of the 



Chap. II. 

town between the ranges of hills north and south, which appear 
to have a strong attraction for the rain-clouds. It is often seen 
to rain on these hills when not a drop falls at Tette. Our first 
season was one of drought. Thrice had the women planted 
their gardens in vain, the seed, after just vegetating, was 
killed by the intense dry heat. A fourth planting shared the 
same hard fate, and then some of the knowing ones discovered 
the cause of the clouds being frightened away: our unlucky 
rain-gauge in the garden. We got a bad name through 
that same rain-gauge, and were regarded by many as a 
species of evil omen. The Makololo in turn blamed the 
people of Tette for drought: "A number of witches live here, 
who won't let it rain." Africans in general are sufficiently 
superstitious, but those of Tette are in this particular pre- 
eminent above their fellows. Coming from many different 
tribes, all the rays of the separate superstitions converge 
into a focus at Tette, and burn out common sense from the 
minds of the mixed breed. They believe that many evil 
spirits live in the air, the earth, and the water. These 
invisible malicious beings are thought to inflict much suffer- 
ing on the human race ; but, as they have a weakness for 
beer and a craving for food, they may be propitiated from 
time to time by offerings of meat and drink. The serpent is 
an object of worship, and hideous little images are hung 
in the huts of the sick and dying. The uncontaminated 
Africans believe that Morungo, the Great Spirit who formed 
all things, lives above the stars ; but they never pray to him, 
and know nothing of their relation to him, or of his interest 
in them. The spirits of their departed ancestors are all good, 
according to their ideas, and on special occasions aid them 
in their enterprises. "When a man has his hair cut, he is 
careful to burn it, or bury it secretly, lest, falling into the 



hands of one who has an evil eye, or is a witch, it should be 
used as a charm to afflict him with headache. They believe, 
too, that they will live after the death of the body, but do not 
know anything of the state of the Barimo (gods, or departed 

The mango-tree grows luxuriantly above Lupata, and 
furnishes a grateful shade. Its delicious fruit is superior to 
that on the coast. For weeks the natives who have charge 
of the mangoes live entirely on the fruit, and, as some trees 
bear in November and some in March, while the main crop 
comes between, fruit in abundance may easily be obtained 
during four months of the year; but no native can be 
induced to plant a mango. A wide-spread superstition has 
become riveted in the native mind, that if any one plants 
this tree he will soon die. The Makololo, like other natives, 
were very fond of the fruit ; but when told to take up some 
mango-stones, on their return, and plant them in their own 
country — they too having become deeply imbued with the 
belief that it was a suicidal act to do so — replied " they did 
not wish to die too soon." There is also a superstition even 
among the native Portuguese of Tette that if a man plants 
coffee he will never afterwards be happy : they drink it, how- 
ever, and seem the happier for it. 

During the drought of 1858 a neighbouring chief got 
up a performance, with divers ceremonies and incantations, to 
bring rain, but it would not come. The Goanese padre of 
Tette, to satisfy his compatriots, appointed a procession and 
prayers in honour of Saint Antonio for the same purpose. The 
first attempt did not answer, but on the second occasion, 
arranged to come off after the new-moon appeared, a grand 
procession in the saint's honour ended in so much rain that 
the roof of the Eesidencia gave way: Saint Antonio's 



image was decorated the following week with a golden 
coronal, worth 22?., for sending the long-delayed and 
much-needed rain. We never looked with disdain on the 
rites or ceremonies of any church ; but, on witnessing the 
acts of worship on this occasion, so great was the irreverence 
manifested, — the kneeling worshippers laughing and joking 
between the responses, not even ceasing their grins when 
uttering " Ora pro nobis," — that we could not help believing 
that if, like the natives, they have faith in rain-making, they 
have faith in nothing else. 

Most of the trees shed their leaves in May, the beginning 
of winter, and remain bare until the rains come in November ; 
several kinds are in the curious habit of anticipating, 
as it were, the rains by instinct; and in the beginning of 
October, when the dry season has reached its driest point 
and there is not a drop of clew, they begin to generate 
buds, and in a few days put forth fresh and various-hued 
foliage, and sometimes beautiful blossoms. In a somewhat 
similar manner, the trees in the Arctic regions are said to 
anticipate the coming spring, and display fresh green leaves, 
when the ground is hard frozen, to a depth greater than that 
to which roots ever penetrate. 

The Portuguese of Tette have many slaves, with all the 
usual vices of their class, as theft, lying, and impurity. 
As a general rule the real Portuguese are tolerably humane 
masters and rarely treat a slave cruelly ; this may be due as 
much to natural kindness of heart as to a fear of losing 
the slaves by their running away. When they purchase an 
adult slave they buy at the same time, if possible, all his 
relations along with him. They thus contrive to secure him 
to his new home by domestic ties. Eunning away then 
would be to forsake all who hold a place in his heart, for the 

Chap. II. 



mere chance of acquiring a freedom, which, would probably 
be forfeited on his entrance into the first native village, for 
the Chief might, without compunction, again sell him into 

A rather singular case of voluntary slavery came to our 
knowledge : a free black, an intelligent active young fellow, 
called Chibanti, who had been our pilot on the river, tolcl us 
that he had sold himself into slavery. On asking why he had 
done this, he replied that he was all alone in the world, had 
neither father nor mother, nor any one else to give him 
water when sick, or food when hungry; so he sold himself 
to Major Sicard, a notoriously kind master, whose slaves 
had little to do, and plenty to eat. "And how much 
did you get for yourself?" we asked. "Three thirty-yard 
pieces of cotton cloth," he replied ; " and I forthwith bought 
a man, a woman, and child, who cost me two of the pieces, 
and I had one piece left." This, at all events, showed a 
cool and calculating spirit ; he afterwards bought more 
slaves, and in two years owned a sufficient number to man 
one of the large canoes. His master subsequently em- 
ployed him in carrying ivory to Quillimane, and gave 
him cloth to hire mariners for the voyage ; he took 
his own slaves, of course, and thus drove a thriving 
business ; and was fully convinced that he had made a good 
speculation by the sale of himself, for had he been sick 
his master must have supported him. Occasionally some 
of the free blacks become slaves voluntarily by going through 
the simple but significant ceremony of breaking a spear in 
the presence of their future master. A Portuguese officer, 
since dead, persuaded one of the Makololo to remain in 
Tette, instead of returning to his own country, and tried 
also to induce him to break a spear before him, and thus 




Chap. II. 

acknowledge himself his slave, but the man was too shrewd 
for this ; he was a great elephant doctor, who accompanied 
the hunters, told them when to attack the huge beast, and 
gave them medicine to ensure success. Unlike the real 
Portuguese, many of the half-castes are merciless slaveholders ; 
their brutal treatment of the wretched slaves is notorious. 
What a humane native of Portugal once said of them is 
appropriate if not true : " God made white men, and God 
made black men, but the devil made half-castes." 

The officers and merchants send parties of slaves under 
faithful headmen to hunt elephants and to trade in ivory, 
providing them with a certain quantity of cloth, beads, &c, and 
requiring so much ivory in return. These slaves think that 
they have made a good thing of it, when they kill an ele- 
phant near a village, as the natives give them beer and meal 
in exchange for some of the elephant's meat, and over every 
tusk that is bought there is expended a vast amount of 
time, talk, and beer. Most of the Africans are natural-born 
traders, they love trade more for the sake of trading than for 
what they make by it. An intelligent gentleman of Tette 
told us that native traders often come to him with a tusk for 
sale, consider the price he offers, demand more, talk over it, 
retire to consult about it, and at length go away without 
selling it ; next day they try another merchant, talk, consider, 
get puzzled and go off as on the previous day, and continue 
this course daily until they have perhaps seen every merchant 
in the village, and then at last end by selling the precious 
tusk to some one for even less than the first merchant had 
offered. Their love of dawdling in the transaction arises 
from the self-importance conferred on them by their being 
the object of the wheedling and coaxing of eager merchants, 
a feeling to which even the love of gain is subordinate. 

Chap. II. 



The native medical profession is reasonably well repre- 
sented. In addition to the regular practitioners, who are a 
really useful class, and know something of their profession, 
and the nature and power of certain medicines, there are others 
who devote their talents to some speciality. The elephant 
doctor prepares a medicine which is considered indispensable 
to the hunters when attacking that noble and sagacious 
beast ; no hunter is willing to venture out before investing 
in this precious nostrum. The crocodile doctor sells a charm 
which is believed to possess the singular virtue of protecting 
its owner from crocodiles. Unwittingly we offended the 
crocodile school of medicine while at Tette, by shooting one 
of these huge reptiles as it lay basking in the sun on a 
sandbank ; the doctors came to the Makololo in wrath, cla- 
mouring to know why the white man had shot their crocodile. 

A shark's hook was baited one evening with a dog, 
of which the crocodile is said to be particularly fond; 
but the doctors removed the bait, on the principle 
that the more crocodiles the more demand for medicine, 
or perhaps because they preferred to eat the dog them- 
selves. Many of the natives of thir* quarter are known, 
as in the South Seas, to eat the dog without paying any 
attention to its feeding. The dice doctor or diviner is 
an important member of the community, being consulted by 
Portuguese and natives alike. Part of his business is that of 
a detective, it being his duty to discover thieves. When goods 
are stolen, he goes and looks at the place, casts his dice, and 
waits a few days, and then, for a consideration, tells who is the 
thief: he is generally correct, for he trusts not to his dice 
alone ; he has confidential agents all over the village, by whose 
inquiries and information he is enabled to detect the culprit. 
Since the introduction of muskets, gun-doctors have sprung 

E 2 


up, and they sell the medicine which professes to make good 
mark§nien; others are rain doctors, &c. &c. The various 
schools deal in little charms, which are hung round the pur- 
chaser's neck to avert evil : some of them contain the medicine, 
others increase its power. 

Indigo, about three or four feet high, grows in great luxu- 
riance in the streets of Tette, and so does the Senna plant. 
The leaves are unclistinguishable from those imported in 
England. We set the Makololo to collect specimens, but 
the natives objected to their doing so, though they them- 
selves never make use of them. A small amount of first-rate 
cotton is cultivated by the native population for the manu- 
facture of a coarse cloth. In former times the Portuguese 
collected it at a cheap rate, and made use of it instead of the 
calico now imported, to exchange for the Manica gold dust. 
A neighbouring tribe raises the sugar-cane, and makes a 
little sugar; but they use most primitive wooden rollers, 
and having no skill in mixing lime with the extracted juice, 
the product is of course of very inferior quality. Plenty of mag- 
netic iron-ore is found near Tette, and coal also to any amount ; 
a single cliff-seam measuring twenty-five feet in thickness. It 
was found to burn well in the steamer on the first trial. The 
ash showed a large quantity of shaly refuse ; but, suspecting 
that this was from the coal near the surface having been 
exposed to the weather for ages, we drove a shaft of some 
thirty feet, and the mineral w T as found to improve the fur- 
ther we went in. Gold is washed for in the beds of rivers, 
within a couple of days of Tette. The natives are fully aware 
of its value, but seldom search for it, and never dig deeper 
than four or five feet. They dread lest the falling in of the 
sand of the river's bed should bury them. In former times, 
when traders went with hundreds of slaves to the washings, 

Chap, II. 



the produce was considerable. It is now insignificant. The gold- 
producing lands have always been in the hands of independent 
tribes. Deep cuttings near the sources of the gold-yielding 
streams seem never to have been tried here, as in California 
and Australia, nor has any machinery been used save common 
wooden basins for washing. * 

Our curiosity had been so much excited by the reports we 
had heard of the Kebrabasa rapids, that we resolved to make 
a short examination of them, and seized the opportunity of 
the Zambesi being unusually low, to endeavour to ascertain 
their character while nncovered by the water. We reached 
them on the 9th of November. The country, between Tette 
and Panda Mokua, where navigation ends, is well wooded and 
hilly on both banks. Panda Mokua is a hill two miles below 
the rapids, capped with dolomite containing copper ore. 

Conspicuous among the trees, for its gigantic size, and bark 
coloured exactly like Egyptian syenite, is the burly Baobab. 
It often makes the other trees of the forest look like mere 
bushes in comparison. A hollow one, already mentioned, is 
74 feet in circumference, another was 84, and some have been 
found on the West Coast which measure 100 feet. Their great 
size induced some to imagine that they afforded evidence 
that the flood of Noah never took place. On careful exami- 
nation of many hundreds in the forests, and some which 
had sprung up in the floors of old stone houses, the num- 
ber of concentric rings convince us that even the very 
largest specimens of this remarkably soft- wooded tree are not 
500 years old. The lofty range of Kebrabasa, consisting 
chiefly of conical hills, covered with scraggy trees, crosses 
the Zambesi, and confines it within a narrow, rough, and 
rocky dell of about a quarter of a mile in breadth ; over this, 
which may be called the flood-bed of the river, large masses 


of rock are huddled in indescribable confusion. The drawing, 
for the use of which, and of others, our thanks are due to 
Lord "Russell, conveys but a faint idea of the scene, inasmuch 
as the hills which confine the river do not appear in the 
sketch. The chief rock is syenite, some portions of which 
have a beautiful blue tinge like lapis lazuli diffused through 
them ; others are grey. Blocks of granite also abound, of a 
pinkish tinge ; and these with metamorphic rocks, contorted, 
twisted, and thrown into every conceivable position, afford a 
picture of dislocation or unconformability which would gladden 
a geological lecturer's heart; but at high flood this rough 
channel is all smoothed over, and it then conforms well with 
the river below it, which is half a mile wide. In the dry 
season the stream runs at the bottom of a narrow and deep 
groove, whose sides are polished and fluted by the boiling 
action of the water in flood, like the rims of ancient Eastern 
wells by the draw-ropes. The breadth of the groove is often 
not more than from forty to sixty yards, and it has some 
sharp turnings, double channels, and little cataracts in it. 
As we steamed up, the masts of the " Ma Eobert," though 
some thirty feet high, did not reach the level of the flood- 
channel above, and the man in the chains sung out, "No 
bottom at ten fathoms." Huge pot-holes, as large as draw- 
wells, had been worn in the sides, and were so deep that 
in some instances, when protected from the sun by over- 
hanging boulders, the water in them was quite cool. Some 
of these holes had been worn right through, and only the 
side next the rock remained ; while the sides of the groove 
of the flood-channel were polished as smooth as if they had 
gone through the granite-mills of Aberdeen. The pressure 
of the water must be enormous to produce this polish. It 
had wedged round pebbles into chinks and crannies of the 

Chap. II. 



rocks so firmly that, though they looked quite loose, they 
could not be moved except with a hammer. The mighty 
power of the water here seen gave us an idea of what is 
going on in thousands of cataracts in the world. All the 
information we had been able to obtain from our Portu- 
guese friends amounted to this, that some three or four 
detached rocks jutted out of the river in Kebrabasa, which, 
though dangerous to the cumbersome native canoes, could be 
easily passed by a steamer, and that if one or two of these 
obstructions were blasted away with gunpowder, no difficulty 
would hereafter be experienced. After we had painfully ex- 
plored seven or eight miles of the rapid, we returned to the 
vessel satisfied that much greater labour was requisite for the 
mere examination of the cataracts than our friends supposed 
necessary to remove them ; we therefore went down the river 
for fresh supplies, and made preparation for a more serious 
survey of this region. 

The steamer having returned from the bar, we set out on 
the 22nd of November to examine the rapids of Kebrabasa.* 
We reached the foot of the hills again, late in the afternoon 
of the 24th, and anchored in the stream. Canoe-men never 
sleep on the river, but always spend the night on shore. The 
natives on the right bank, in the country called Shidima, who 
are Banyai, and even at this short distance from Tette, inde- 
pendent, and accustomed to lord it over Portuguese traders, 
wondered what could be our object in remaining afloat, and 
were naturally suspicious at our departing from the universal 

* The word as pronounced by the 
natives is Kaora-basa, " finish or break 
the service." The Portuguese word 
Kebra (quebra) means the same thing, 

and refers to the break which occurs 
in the labour of toiling up thus far in 
heavy canoes and then carrying the 
luggage hence overland to Chicova. 



Chap. IL 

They hailed us from the bank in the evening with " Why 
don't you come and sleep on'shcre like other people?" 

The answer they received from our Makololo, who now 
felt as independent as the Banyai, was, "We are held to 
the bottom with iron ; you may see we are not like your 

This hint, a little amplified, saved us from the usual exac- 
tions. It is pleasant to give a present, but that pleasure the 
Banyai usually deny to strangers by making it a fine, and 
demanding it in such a supercilious way, that only a 
sorely-cowed trader could bear it. They often refuse to 
touch what is offered — throw it clown and leave it — sneer 
at the trader's slaves, and refuse a passage until the tribute 
is raised to the utmost extent of his means. 

Leaving the steamer next morning, we proceeded on foot, 
accompanied by a native Portuguese and his men and a 
dozen Makololo, who carried our baggage. The morning was 
pleasant, the hills on our right furnished for a time a delight- 
ful shade ; but before long the path grew frightfully rough, 
and the hills no longer shielded us from the blazing sun. 
Scarcely a vestige of a track was now visible; and, indeed, 
had not our guide assured us to the contrary, we should have 
been innocent of even the suspicion of a way along the patches 
of soft yielding sand, and on the great rocks over which we so 
painfully clambered. These rocks have a singular appear- 
ance, from being dislocated and twisted in every direction, 
and covered with a thin black glaze, as if highly polished and 
coated with lamp-black varnish. This seems to have been 
deposited while the river was in flood, for it covers only 
those rocks which lie between the highest water-mark 
and a line about four feet above the lowest. Travellers 
who have visited the rapids of the Orinoco and the Congo 

Chap. II. 


say that tlie rocks there have a similar appearance, and it is 
attributed to some deposit from the water, formed only when 
the current is strong. This may account for it in part here, 
as it prevails only where the narrow river is confined between 
masses of rock, backed by high hills, and where the current in 
floods is known to be the strongest; and it does not exist where 
the rocks are only on one side, with a sanely beach opposite,, 
and a broad expanse of river between. The hot rocks burnt 
the thick soles of our men's feet, and sorely fatigued ourselves., 
Our first day's march did not exceed four miles in a straight 
line, and that we found more than enough to be pleasant. 

A few inhabitants, of the tribe called Badema, were seen 
living in the valleys. They cultivate small quantities of 
maize, tobacco, and cotton in the available hollows, and the 
holcus sorghum, or as they call it " mapira", on the steep 
slopes of their mountains. Fish are caught in the river with 
casting nets. Zebras, antelopes, and other animals are taken 
by driving them into ravines, strong nets made of baobab- 
bark being stretched across the narrow outlets. 

The state of insecurity in which the Badema tribe live 
is indicated by the habit of hiding their provisions in the 
hills, and keeping only a small quantity in their huts ; they 
strip a particular species of tree of its bitter bark, to which 
both mice and monkeys are known to have an antipathy, and ? 
turning the bark inside out, sew it into cylindrical vessels 
for their grain, and bury them in holes and in crags on the 
wooded hill-sides. By this means, should a marauding party 
plunder their huts, they save a supply of corn. They " could 
give us no information, and they had no food; Chisaka's 
men had robbed them a few weeks before." 

" Never mind," said our native Portuguese, " they will sell 
you plenty when you return, they are afraid of you now, as 



Chap. II. 

yet they do not know who you are." We slept under trees 
in the open air, and suffered no inconvenience from either 
mosquitoes or dew : and no prowling wild beast troubled us ; 
though one evening, while we were here, a native sitting with 
some others on the opposite bank was killed by a leopard. 

One of the Tette slaves, who wished to be considered a 
great traveller, gave us, as we sat by our evening fire, an 
interesting account of a strange race of men whom he had 
seen in the interior; they were only three feet high, and 
had horns growing out of their heads ; they lived in a large 
town, and had plenty of food. The Makololo pooh-poohed 
this story, and roundly told the narrator that he was telling a 
downright lie. " We come from the interior," cried out a 
tall fellow, measuring some six feet four, "are we dwarfs? 
have we horns on our heads ? " and thus they laughed the 
fellow to scorn. But he still stoutly maintained that he had 
seen these little people, and had actually been in their town ; 
thus making himself the hero of the traditional story, 
which before and since the time of Herodotus has, with 
curious persistency, clung to the native mind. The mere 
fact that such absurd notions are permanent, even in the 
entire absence of literature, invests the religious ideas of 
these people also with importance, as fragments of the wreck 
of a primitive faith floating down the stream of time. 

We waded across the rapid Luia, which took us up to the 
waist, and was about forty yards wide. The water was dis- 
coloured at the time, and we were not without apprehension 
that a crocodile might chance to fancy a white man for dinner. 
Next clay one of the men crawled over the black rocks to 
within ten yards of a sleeping hippopotamus, and shot him 
through the brain. The weather being warm, the body floated 
in a few hours, and some of us had our first trial of hippo- 

Chap. II. 



potanms flesh. It is a coarse-grained meat, something be- 
tween pork and beef, — pretty good food when one is hungry 
and can get nothing better. When we reached the foot of 
the mountain named Chipereziwa, whose perpendicular rocky 
sides are clothed with many-coloured lichens, our Portuguese 
companion informed us there were no more obstructions 
to navigation, the river being all smooth above; he had 
hunted there and knew it well. Supposing that the object 
of our trip was accomplished we turned back ; but two 
natives, who came to our camp at night, assured us that 
a cataract, called Morumbwa, did still exist in front. Drs. 
Livingstone and Kirk then decided to go forward w T ith 
three Makololo and settle the question for themselves. 
It was as tough a bit of travel as they ever had in Africa, 
and after some painful marching the Badema guides refused 
to go further; "the Banyai," they said, "would be angry 
if they showed white men the country; and there was 
besides no practicable approach to the spot, neither ele- 
phant, nor hippopotamus, nor even a crocodile could reach 
the cataract." The slopes of the mountains on each side of 
the river, now not 300 yards wide, and without the flattish 
flood-channel and groove, were more than 3000 feet from 
the sky-line down, and were covered either with dense 
thornbush, or huge black boulders ; this deep trough-like 
shape caused the sun's rays to converge as into a focus, 
making the surface so hot that the soles of the feet of 
the Makololo became blistered. Around, and up and down, 
the party clambered among these heated blocks, at a 
pace not exceeding a mile an hour ; the strain upon the 
muscles in jumping from crag to boulder, and wriggling 
round projections, took an enormous deal out of them, and 
they were often glad to cower in the shadow formed by 



Chap. II. 

one rock overhanging and resting on another; the shelter 
induced the peculiarly strong and overpowering inclination 
to sleep, which too much sun sometimes causes. This sleep 
is curative of what may be incipient sunstroke : in its first 
gentle touches, it caused the dream to flit over the boiling- 
brain, that they had become lunatics and had been sworn in 
as members of the Alpine club ; and then it became so 
heavy that it made them feel as if a portion of existence had 
been cut out from their lives. The sun is excessively hot, 
and feels sharp in Africa; but, probably from the greater 
dryness of the atmosphere, we never heard of a single case 
of sunstroke, so common in India. The Makololo told Dr. 
Livingstone they "always thought he had a heart, but now 
they believed he had none," and tried to persuade Dr. Kirk 
to return, on the ground that it must be evident that, in 
attempting to go where no living foot could tread, his leader 
had given unmistakeable signs of having gone mad. All 
their efforts of persuasion, however, were lost upon Dr. Kirk, 
as he had not yet learned their language, and his leader 
knowing his companion to be equally anxious with himself to 
solve the problem of the navigableness of Kebrabasa, was not 
at pains to enlighten him. At one part a bare mountain spur 
barred the way, and had to be surmounted by a perilous and 
circuitous route, along which the crags were so hot that it 
was scarcely possible for the hand to hold on long enough to 
ensure safety in the passage; and had the foremost of the 
party lost his hold, he would have hurled all behind him into 
the river at the foot of the promontory ; yet in this wild hot 
region, as they descended again to the river, they met a fish- 
erman casting his hand-net into the boiling eddies, and he 
pointed out the cataract of Morumbwa ; within an hour they 
were trying to measure it from an overhanging rock, at a 

Chap. II. 



height of about one hundred feet. When you stand facing 
the cataract, on the north bank, you see that it is situated 
in a sudden bend of the river, which is flowing in a short 
curve ; the river above it is jammed between two mountains 
in a channel with perpendicular sides, and less than fifty 
yards wide ; one or two masses of rock jut out, and then 
there is a sloping fall of perhaps twenty feet in a distance of 
thirty yards. It would stop all navigation, except during the 
highest floods ; the rocks showed that the water then rises 
upwards of eighty feet perpendicularly. 

Still keeping the position facing the cataract, on its right 
side rises Mount Morumbwa from 2000 to 3000 feet high, 
which gives the name to the spot. On the left of the 
cataract stands a noticeable mountain which may be called 
onion-shaped, for it is partly conical, and a large concave 
flake has peeled off, as granite often does, and left a 
broad, smooth convex face as if it were an enormous bulb. 
These two mountains extend their bases northwards about 
half a mile, and the river in that distance, still very narrow, 
is smooth, with a few detached rocks standing out from its 
bed. They climbed as high up the base of Mount Morumbwa, 
which touches the cataract, as they required. The rocks 
were all waterworn and smooth, with huge pot-holes, even 
at 100 feet above low water. When at a later period 
they climbed up the north-western base of this same 
mountain, the familiar face of the onion-shaped one oppo- 
site was at once recognised ; one point of view on the talus 
of Mount Morumbwa was not more that 700 or 800 yards 
distant from the other, and they then completed the survey 
of Kebrabasa from end to end. 

They did not attempt to return by the way they came, 
but scaled the slope of the mountain on the north. It 



took them three hours' hard labour in cutting theii 
way ijp through the dense thornbush which covered the 
ascent. The face of the slope was often about an angle 
of 70°, yet their guide Shokurnbenla, whose hard, horny 
soles, resembling those of elephants, showed that he was 
accustomed to this rough and hot work, carried a pot of 
water for them nearly all the way up. They slept that 
night at a well in a tufaceous rock on the ISLW. of Chi- 
pereziwa, and never was sleep more sweet. 

Chap. III. 




Eeturn from Kebrabasa — Native musicians and their instruments — Ignorance 
at Tette — Changes produced by rain after hot season — Christmas in tropi- 
cal dress — Opinions modified by early associations in Northern climes — 
The seasons at Tette — Cotton-seed not needed — African fever — Quinine 
not a preventive of — The best precaution and remedy — "Warburgh's 
drops " — Expedition turns from Kebrabasa towards Eiver Shire in January, 
1859 — Reported barrier to navigation — First intercourse with unknown 
people — Navigation of Shire — Progress prevented by Murchisons cataracts 
— Eeturn to Tette — Second trip up the Shire in March, 1859 — Chibisa — 
Nyanja Mukulu — Maniac guides — Discover Lake Shirwa on 18th April, 
1859 — Mountains — Eeturn to vessel — Severe case of fever — Eeturn to 
Tette 23rd June — Vessel found to be built of unstable materials — At Kon- 
gone in August. 

A band of native musicians came to our camp one evening, 
on our own way down, and treated us with their wild and not 
unpleasant music on the Marimba, an instrument formed of 
bars of hard wood of varying breadth and thickness, laid 
on different-sized hollow calabashes, ard tuned to give the 
notes; a few pieces of cloth pleased them, and they 
passed on. 

As our companion had told us, the people were perfectly 
willing to sell us provisions on our way back. When we ar- 
rived at Tette the Commandant informed us that, shortly after 
we had left, the river rose a foot and became turbid ; and on 
seeing this, a native Portuguese came to him with a grave 
countenance, and said, " That Englishman is doing something 
to the river." This, we regret to say, is a fair sample of the 
ignorance and superstition common to the native-born, and, 
unfortunately, sometimes shared in even by men reared 



ill Portugal. While we were at Tette, a Captain of Infantry 
was sent prisoner to Mosambique, for administering the 
Muave, or ordeal, and for putting the suspected person to 
death on that evidence alone. 

At the end of the hot season everything is dry and dusty ; 
the atmosphere is loaded with blue haze, and very sultry. 
After the rains begin, the face of the country changes with 
surprising rapidity for the better. Though we have not the 
moist hothouse-like atmosphere of the west coast, fresh green 
herbage quickly springs up over the hills and dales, so 
lately parched and brown. The air becomes cleared of the 
smoky-looking haze, and one sees to great distances with 
ease ; the landscape is bathed in a perfect flood of light, and 
a delightful sense of freshness is given from everything in the 
morning before the glare of noon overpowers the eye. On 
asking one of the Bechuanas once, what he understood by the 
word used for " holiness " (boitsepho) ? he answered, " When 
copious showers have descended during the night, and all 
the earth and leaves and cattle are washed clean, and the 
sun rising shows a drop of dew on every blade of grass, and 
the air breathes fresh, that is holiness." The young foliage 
of several trees, more especially on the highlands, comes out 
brown, pale red, or pink, like the hues of autumnal leaves 
in England ; and as the leaves increase in size they change 
to a pleasant fresh light green; bright white, scarlet, pink, 
and yellow flowers are everywhere ; and some few of dark 
crimson, like those of the kigelia, give warmth of colouring to 
Nature's garden. Many trees, such as the scarlet erythrina, 
attract the eye by the beauty of their blossoms. The white, 
full bloom of the baobab, coming at times before the rains, 
and the small and delicate flowers of other trees, grouped 
into rich clusters, deck the forest. Myriads of wild bees are 



busy from morning till night. Some of the acacias possess a 
peculiar attraction for one species of beetle ; while the palm 
allures others to congregate on its ample leaves. Insects of 
all sorts are now in full force ; brilliant butterflies flit from 
flower to flower, and, with the charming little sun-birds, 
which represent the humming-birds of America and the 
West Indies, never seem to tire. Multitudes of ants are 
hard at work hunting for food, or bearing it home in 
triumph. The winter birds of passage, such as the yellow 
wagtail and blue drongo shrikes, have all gone, and other 
kinds have come; the brown kite with his piping like a 
boatswain's whistle, the spotted cuckoo Avith a call like 
" pula," and the roller and horn-bill with their loud high 
notes, are occasionally distinctly heard, though generally 
this harsher music is half drowned in the volume of sweet 
sounds poured forth from many a throbbing throat, which 
makes an African Christmas seem like an English May. 
Some birds of the weaver kind have laid aside their winter 
garments of a sober brown, and appear in a gay summer dress 
of scarlet and jet black ; others have passed from green to 
bright yellow with patches like black velvet. The brisk little 
cock whydah-bird with a pink bill, after assuming his summer 
garb of black and white, has graceful plumes attached to his 
new coat ; his finery, as some believe, is to please at least 
seven hen birds with which he is said to live. Birds of 
song are not- entirely confined to villages; but they have 
in Africa so often been observed to congregate around villages, 
as to produce the impression that song and beauty may have 
been intended to please the ear and eye of man, for it is 
only when we approach the haunts of men that we know 
that the time of the singing of birds is come. We once 
thought that the little creatures were attracted to man only 



Chap. 111. 

by grain and water, till we saw deserted villages, the people 
all swept off by slavery, with grain standing by running 
streams, but no birds. A red-throated black weaver-bird 
conies in flocks a little later, wearing a long train of magni- 
ficent plumes, which seem to be greatly in his way when 
working for his dinner among the long grass. A goatsucker 
or night jar (Cometornis vexillarius), only ten inches long 
from head to tail, also attracts the eye in November by a 
couple of feathers twenty-six inches long in the middle of 
each wing, the ninth and tenth from the outside. They 
give a slow wavy motion to the wings, and evidently retard 
his flight, for at other times he flies so quick that no boy 
could hit him with a stone. The natives can kill a hare by 
throwing a club, and make good running shots, but no one 
ever struck a night jar in common dress, though in the 
evening twilight they settle close to one's feet. What may 
be the object of the flight of the male bird being retarded 
we cannot tell. The males alone possess these feathers, and 
only for a time. 

It apj)ears strange to have Christmas come in such a 
cheerful bright season as this ; one can hardly recognise 
it in summer dress, with singing birds, springing corn, and 
flowery plains, instead of in the winter robes of bygone days, 
when the keen bracing air, and ground clad in a mantle of 
snow, made the cozy fireside meeting-place of families doubly 
comfortable. The associations of early days spent in a 
Northern clime dispose us to view other lands with rather 
contracted notions, and, like the Esquimaux who were 
brought to Europe, to look cheerlessly at this sunny portion 
of our fair world, which is unhealthy only because the ex- 
uberant fertility with which the Maker has endowed it to 
yield abundant food for man and beast, is allowed to run 

Chap. III. 



to waste. In reference to it, and its inhabitants, it was 
long ago remarked, that in Africa everything was contrary ; 
" wool grows on the heads of men, and hair on the backs of 
sheep." In feeble imitation of this dogma let us add, that the 
men often wear their hair long, the women scarcely ever. 
Where there are cattle, the women till the land, plant the 
corn, and build the huts. The men stay at home to sew, spin, 
weave, and talk, and milk the cows. The men seem to pay 
a dowry for their wives instead of getting one with them. 
The mountaineers of Europe are reckoned hospitable, gene- 
rous, and brave. Those of this part of Africa are feeble, 
spiritless, and cowardly, even when contrasted with their 
own countrymen on the plains. Some Europeans aver that 
Africans and themselves are descended from monkeys. Some 
Africans believe that souls at death pass into the bodies of 
apes. Most writers believe the blacks to be savages, nearly 
all blacks believe the whites to be cannibals. The nursery 
hobgoblin of the one is black, of the other white. Without 
going further on with these unwise comparisons, we must 
smile at the heaps of nonsense which have been written 
about the negro intellect. When for greater effect we em- 
ploy broken English, and use silly phrases as if transla- 
tions of remarks, which, ten to one, were never made, 
we have unconsciously caricatured ourselves and not the 
negroes ; for it is a curious fact that Europeans almost 
invariably begin to speak with natives by adding the letters 
e and o to their words " Givee me corns, me givee you bis- 
cuits," or "Look*?, looks, me wante beers mucke." Our 
sailors began thus, though they had never seen blacks 
before. It seemed an innate idea that they could thus suit 
English to a people who all speak a beautiful language, 
and have no vulgar patois. Owing to the difference of 

f 2 



idiom, very few Europeans acquire an accurate knowledge 
of African tongues unless they begin to learn when young, 
A complaint as to the poverty of the language is often only 
a sure proof of the scanty attainments of the complainant,, 
and gross mistakes are often made by the most experienced. 
We once caught a sound like "Syria" as the name of a 
country on the other side of a river. It was " Psidia" 
and meant only the " other side" A grave professor put 
down in a scientific work " Kaia " as the native name of 
a certain lizard. Kaia simply means " I don't know ! " the 
answer which he received. This name was also applied in 
equal innocence to a range of mountains. Every one can 
recal mistakes, the remembrance of which, in after years, 
brings a blush to his brow. In general the opinion of an 
intelligent missionary who has diligently studied the language 
is superior to that of any traveller. Quite as sensible if not 
more pertinent answers will usually be given by Africans 
to those who know their language, as are obtained from our 
own uneducated poor ; and could we but forget that a couple 
of centuries back, the ancestors of common people in Eng- 
land — probably our own great-great-grandfathers — were as 
unenlightened as the Africans are now, we might maunder 
away about intellect, and fancy that the tacit inference 
would be drawn that our own is Arch-Angelic. The low 
motives which often actuate the barbarians do, unfortu- 
nately, bear abundant crops of mean actions among servants 
and even in higher ranks of more civilized people ; but we 
hope that these may decrease in the general improvement 
of our race by the diffusion of true religion. 

Dr. Kirk very properly divides the year into three seasons, 
a cold, a hot, and a rainy season. The cold period lasts 
through May, June, and July ; the hot prevails in August, 

Chap. III. 



September, and October. The rains may be expected during 
the remaining months, of the year. 

The rainy season of Tette differs a little from that of some 
of the other intertropical regions ; the quantity of rain-fall 
being considerably less. It begins in November and ends in 
April. During our first season in that place, only a little over 
nineteen inches of rain fell. In an average year, and when 
the crops are good, the fall amounts to about thirty-five 
inches. On many days it does not rain at all, and rarely is 
it wet all day ; some days have merely a passing shower, 
preceded and followed by hot sunshine ; occasionally an in- 
terval of a week, or even a fortnight, passes without a drop 
of rain, and then the crops suffer from the sun. These 
partial droughts happen in December and January. The 
heat appears to increase to a certain point in the " different 
latitudes so as to necessitate a change, by some law similar 
to that which regulates the intense cold in other countries. 
After several days of progressive heat here, on the hottest of 
which the thermometer probably reaches 103° in the shade, 
a break occurs in the weather, and a thunderstorm cools the 
air for a time. At Kuruman, when the thermometer stood 
above 84°, rain might be expected ; at Kolobeng, the point 
at which we looked for a storm was 96°. The Zambesi is in 
flood twice in the course of the year; the first flood, a 
partial one, attains its greatest height about the end of 
December or beginning of January ; the second, and 
greatest, occurs after the river inundates the interior, in a 
manner similar to the overflow of the Nile, this rise not 
taking place at Tette until March. The Portuguese say 
.that the greatest height which the March floods attain is 
thirty feet at Tette, and this happens only about every 
fourth year; their observations, however, have never been 



Chap. III. 

very accurate on anything but ivory, and they have in this 
case trusted to memory alone. The only fluviometer at Tette, 
or anywhere else on the river, was set up at our suggestion ; 
and the first flood was at its greatest height of thirteen feet 
six inches on the 17th January, 1859, and then gradually fell 
a few feet, until succeeded by the greater flood of March. 
The river rises suddenly, the water is highly discoloured and 
impure, and there is a four-knot current in many places ; 
but in a day or two after the first rush of waters is passed, 
the current becomes more equally spread over the whole 
bed of the river, and resumes its usual rate in the channel, 
although continuing in flood. The Zambesi water at other 
times is almost chemically pure, and the photographer would 
find that it is nearly as good as distilled water for the nitrate 
of silver bath. 

A third visit to Kebrabasa was made for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining whether it might be navigable when 
the Zambesi was in flood, the chief point of interest being 
of course Morumbwa; it was found that the rapids ob- 
served in our first trip had disappeared, and that while 
they were smoothed over, in a few places the current had in- 
creased in strength. As the river fell rapidly while we were 
on the journey, the cataract of Morumbwa did not differ 
materially from w T hat it was when discovered. Some fisher- 
men assured us that it was not visible when the river was 
at its fullest, and that the current was then not very strong. 
On this occasion we travelled on the right bank, and found 
it, with the additional inconvenience of rain, as rough and 
fatiguing as the left had been. Our progress was impeded 
by the tall wet grass and dripping boughs, and consequent 
fever. During the earlier part of the journey we came 
upon a few deserted hamlets only; but at last in a 

Chap. III. 



pleasant valley we met some of the people of the country, 
who were miserably poor and hungry. The women were 
gathering wild fruits in the woods. A young man haying 
consented for two yards of cotton cloth to show us a short 
path to the cataract led us up a steep hill to a village 
perched on the edge of one of its precipices ; a thunder- 
storm coming on at the time, the headman invited us to 
take shelter in a hut until it had passed. Our guide 
having informed him of what he knew and conceived to be 
our object, was favoured in return with a long reply in 
well-sounding blank verse ; at the end of every line the 
guide, who listened with deep attention, responded with a 
grunt, which soon became so ludicrous that our men burst 
into a loud laugh. Neither the poet nor the responsive 
guide took the slightest notice of their rudeness, but kept 
on as energetically as ever to the end. The speech, or 
more probably our bad manners, made some impression on 
our guide, for he declined, although offered double pay, to 
go any further. 

We brought eotton-seed to Africa, in ignorance that the 
cotton already introduced was equal, if not superior, to the 
common American, and offered it to any of the Portuguese 
and natives who chose to cultivate it ; but, though some tried 
this source of wealth, it was evident that their ideas could 
not soar beyond black ivory, as they call slaves, elephant's 
tusks, and a little gold-dust. 

A great deal of fever comes in with March and April ; in 
March, if considerable intervals take place between the 
rainy days, and in April always, for then large surfaces 
of mud and decaying vegetation are exposed to the hot 
sun. In general an attack does not continue long, but it 
pulls one down quickly ; though when the fever is checked 



Chap. 1IT. 

the strength is as quickly restored. It had long been 
observed that those who were stationed for any length of 
time in one spot, and lived sedentary lives, suffered more 
from fever than others who moved about and had both 
mind and body occupied ; but we could not all go in the small 
vessel when she made her trips, during which the change 
of place and scenery proved so conducive to health; and 
some of us were obliged to remain in charge of the expedition's 
property, making occasional branch trips to examine objects of 
interest in the vicinity. Whatever may be the cause of the 
fever, we observed that all were often affected at the same 
time, as if from malaria. This was particularly the case 
during a north wind : it was at first commonly believed 
that a daily dose of quinine would prevent the attack. 
For a number of months all our men, except two, took quinine 
regularly every morning. The fever sometimes attacked the 
believers in quinine, while the unbelievers in its prophy- 
lactic powers escaped. Whether we took it daily, or omitted 
it altogether for months, made no difference ; the fever was 
impartial, and seized us on the days of quinine as regularly 
and as severely as when it remained undisturbed in the 
medicine chest, and we finally abandoned the use of it as a 
prophylactic altogether. The best preventive against fever 
is plenty of interesting work to do, and abundance of whole- 
some food to eat. To a man well housed and clothed, who 
enjoys these advantages, the fever at Tette will not prove a more 
formidable enemy than a common cold ; but let one of these 
be wanting — let him be indolent, or guilty of excesses in 
eating or drinking, or have poor, scanty fare, — and the fever 
will probably become a more serious matter. It is of a 
milder type at Tette than at Quillimane or on the low sea- 
coast ; and, as in this part of Africa one is as liable 

Chap. III. 



to fever, as to colds in England, it would be advisable 
for strangers always to hasten from the coast to the 
higher lands, in order that when the seizure does take 
place, it may be of the mildest type. This having been 
pointed out by Dr. Kirk, the Portuguese authorities after- 
wards took the hint, and sent the next detachment of soldiers 
at once up to Tette. It consisted of eighty men, and in spite 
of the irregularities committed, most of them being of the 
class termed " incorrigibles," in three years only ten died, and 
but five of fever. Although quinine was not found to be 
a preventive, except possibly in the way of acting as a 
tonic, and rendering the system more able to resist the in- 
fluence of malaria, it was found invaluable in the cure of the 
complaint, as soon as pains in the back, sore bones, headache, 
yawning, quick and sometimes intermittent pulse, noticeable 
pulsations of the jugulars, with suffused eyes, hot skin, 
and foul tongue, began.* 

Very curious are the effects of African fever on certain 

* A remedy composed of from six 
to eight grains of resin of jalap, the 
same of rhubarb, and three each of 
calomel and quinine, made up into 
four pills, with tincture of cardamoms, 
usually relieved all the symptoms in 
five or six hours. Four pills are a full 
dose for a man — one will suffice for a 
woman. They received from our men 
the name of "rousers," from their 
efficacy in rousing up even those most 
prostrated. When their operation is 
delayed, a dessert-spoonful of Epsom 
salts should be given. Quinine after 
or during the operation of the pills, in 
large doses every two or three hours, 
until deafness or cinchonism ensued, 
completed the cure. The only cases 
in which we found ourselves com- 

pletely helpless, were those in which 
obstinate vomiting ensued. We had 
received from Viscount Torrington a 
handsome supply of " Warburgh's 
fever drops," a medicine much 
esteemed in India ; and in considera- 
tion of his lordship's kindness in 
furnishing the drug at a considerable 
expense, as well as from a desire to 
find out a remedy that might be relied 
on for this formidable disease, we gave 
it as fair a trial as was in our power. 
In the shivering stage it caused 
warmth, but did not cure. One old 
man seemed cured, but died a day 
or two afterwards. We regret that 
we cannot recommend it for Africa, 
though we know of its high repute in 



Chap. III. 

Hiinds. Cheerfulness vanishes, and the whole mental 
horizon is overcast with black clouds of gloom and sadness. 
The liveliest joke cannot provoke even the semblance of a 
smile. The countenance is grave, the eyes suffused, and the 
few utterances are made in the piping voice of a wailing 
infant. An irritable temper is often the first symptom of 
approaching fever. At such times a man feels very much 
like a fool, if he does not act like one. Nothing is right, 
nothing pleases the fever-stricken victim. He is peevish, 
prone to find fault and to contradict, and think him- 
self insulted, and is exactly what an Irish naval surgeon 
before a court-martial defined a drunken man to be : "a man 
unfit for society." If a party were all soaked full of malaria 
at once, the life of the leader of the expedition would be made 
a burden to him. One might come with lengthened visage, 
and urge as a good reason for his despair, if further progress 
were attempted, that " he had broken the photograph of his 
wife ; " another, " that his proper position was unjustly with- 
held because special search was not directed towards ' the ten 
lost tribes.' " It is dangerous to rally such a one, for the 
irate companion may quote Scripture, and point to their 
habitat " beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.' 7 When a man 
begins to feel that everything is meant to his prejudice, — 
he either takes a dose of " rousers," or writes to the news- 
papers, according to the amount of sense with which nature 
has endowed him. 

Finding that it was impossible to take our steamer of only 
ten-horse power through Kebrabasa, and convinced that, in- 
order to force a passage when the river was in flood, much 
greater power was required, due information was forwarded 
to Her Majesty's Government, and application made for a 
more suitable vessel. Our attention was in the mean time 

Chap. III. 



turned to the exploration of the river Shire, a northern tri- 
butary of the Zambesi, which joins it about a hundred miles 
from the sea. We could learn nothing satisfactory from the 
Portuguese regarding this affluent; no one, they said, had 
ever been up it, nor could they tell whence it came. Years ago 
a Portuguese expedition is said, however, to have attempted 
the ascent, but to have abandoned it on account of the 
impenetrable duckweed {Pistia stratiotes). Many asserted, 
on the strength of this, that not even canoes could force their 
way through the masses of aquatic plants that covered its 
surface. Others, however, hinted in a private way that 
it was not the duckweed which drove back the expe- 
dition, but the poisoned arrows by which the hostile 
natives repulsed the Portuguese with heavy loss. No one 
sent native traders up the Shire, nor had intercourse with 
the treacherous savages who lived on its banks. A merchant 
of Senna told us that he once fitted out a trading party which 
went a short distance up the river, but the men of it were 
robbed and barely escaped with their lives. " Our Govern- 
ment," said one Commandant, 66 has sent us orders to assist 
and protect you, but you go where we dare not follow, and 
how can we protect you?" We could not learn from any 
record that the Shire had ever been ascended by Europeans. 
As far, therefore, as we were concerned, the exploration was 
absolutely new. All the Portuguese believed the Manganja 
to be brave but bloodthirsty savages ; and on our return we 
found that soon after our departure a report was widely 
spread that our temerity had been followed by fatal results, 
Dr. Livingstone having been shot, and Dr. Kirk mortally 
wounded by poisoned arrows. 

Our first trip to the Shire was in January, 1859. A 
considerable quantity of duckweed floated down the river 



for the first twenty-five miles, but not sufficient to 
interrupt navigation with canoes or with any other craft. 
Nearly the whole of this aquatic plant proceeds from a 
marsh on the west, and comes into the river a little 
beyond a lofty hill called Mount Morambala. Above that 
there is hardly any. As we approached the villages, the natives 
collected in large numbers, armed with bows and poisoned 
arrows ; and some, dodging behind trees, were observed taking 
aim as if on the point of shooting. All the women had 
been sent out of the way, and the men were evidently 
prepared to resist aggression. At the village of a Chief named 
Tingane, at least five hundred natives collected and ordered 
us to stop. Dr. Livingstone went ashore; and on his explain- 
ing that we were English and had come neither to take slaves 
nor to fight, but only to open a path by which our country- 
men might follow to purchase cotton, or whatever else they 
might have to sell, except slaves, Tingane became at once 
quite friendly. The presence of the steamer, which showed 
that they had an entirely new people to deal with, probably 
contributed to this result ; for Tingane was notorious for being 
the barrier to all intercourse between the Portuguese black 
traders and the natives further inland ; none were allowed 
to pass him either way. He was an elderly, well-made man, 
grey-headed, and over six feet high. Though somewhat 
excited by our presence, he readily complied with the request 
to call his people together, in order that all might know what 
our objects were. 

In commencing intercourse with any people we almost 
always referred to the English detestation of slavery. Most of 
them already possess some information respecting the efforts 
made by the English at sea to suppress the slave-trade ; and 
our work being to induce them to raise and sell cotton, instead 

Chap. III. 



of capturing and selling their fellow-men, our errand appears 
quite natural ; and as they all have clear ideas of their own 
self-interest, and are keen traders, the reasonableness of the 
proposal is at once admitted ; and as a belief in a Supreme 
Being, the Maker and Euler of all things, and in the continued 
existence of departed spirits is universal, it becomes quite 
appropriate to explain that we possess a Book containing a Ke- 
velation of the will of Him, to whom in their natural state they 
recognise no relationship. The fact that His Son appeared 
among men, and left His words in His Book, always awakens 
attention ; but the great difficulty is to make them feel that 
they have any relationship to Him, and that He feels any 
interest in them. The numbness of moral perception exhibited , 
is often discouraging ; but the mode of communication, either 
by interpreters, or by the imperfect knowledge of the 
language, which not even missionaries of talent can overcome 
save by the labour of many years, may, in part, account for 
the phenomenon. However, the idea of the Father of all 
being displeased with His children, for selling or killing each 
other, at once gains their ready assent : it harmonizes so 
exactly with their own ideas of right and wrong. But, as in 
our own case at home, nothing less than the instruction and 
example of many years will secure their moral elevation. 

The dialect spoken here closely resembles that used at 
Senna and Tette. We understood it at first only enough to 
know whether our interpreter was saying what we bade him, or 
was indulging in his own version. After stating pretty nearly 
what he was told, he had an inveterate tendency to wind up 
with "The Book says you are to grow cotton, and the 
English are to come and buy it," or with some joke of his 
own, which might have been ludicrous, had it not been 
seriously distressing. 



Chap. III. 

In the first ascent of the Shire our attention was chiefly 
directed to the river itself. The delight of threading out 
the nieanderings of upwards of 200 miles of a hitherto 
unexplored river must be felt to be appreciated. All the 
lower part of the river was found to be at least two fathoms 
in depth. It became shallower higher up, where many 
departing and re-entering branches diminished the volume of 
water, but the absence of sandbanks made it easy of navi- 
gation. We had to exercise the greatest care lest anything 
we did should be misconstrued by the crowds who watched 
us. After having made, in a straight line, one hundred miles, 
although the windings of the river had fully doubled the 
distance, we found further progress with the steamer arrested, 
in 15° 55' south, by magnificent cataracts, which we called 
" The Murchison,' , after one whose name has already a world- 
wide fame, and whose generous kindness we can never repay. 
The native name of that figured in the woodcut is Mamvira. 
It is that at which the progress of the steamer was first 
stopped. The angle of descent is much smaller than that 
of the five cataracts above it ; indeed, so small as compared 
with them, that after they were discovered this was not in- 
cluded in the number. 

A few days were spent here in the hope that there might 
be an opportunity of taking observations for longitude, but 
it rained most of the time, or the sky was overcast. It was 
deemed imprudent to risk a land journey whilst the natives 
were so very suspicious as to have a strong guard on the banks 
of the river night and day ; the weather also was unfavourable. 
After sending presents and messages to two of the Chiefs, we 
returned to Tette. In going down stream our progress was 
rapid, as we were aided by the current. The hippopotami never 
made a mistake, but got out of our way. The crocodiles, not 

Chap. III. 



so wise, sometimes rushed with great velocity at us, thinking 
that we were some huge animal swimming. They kept about 
a foot from the surface, but made three well-defined ripples 
from the feet and body, which marked their rapid progress ; 
raising the head out of the water when only a few yards 
from the expected feast, down they went to the bottom 
like a stone, without touching the boat. 

In the middle of March of the same year (1859), we started 
again for a second trip on the Shire. The natives were now 
friendly, and readily sold us rice, fowls, and corn. We entered 
into amicable relations with the Chief, Chibisa, whose village 
was about ten miles below the cataract. He had sent two men 
on our first visit to invite us to drink beer ; but the steamer 
was such a terrible apparition to them, that, after shouting 
the invitation, they jumped ashore, and left their canoe to 
drift down the stream. Chibisa was a remarkably shrewd man, 
the very image, save his dark hue, of one of our most cele- 
brated London actors, and the most intelligent Chief, by far, in 
this quarter. A great deal of fighting had fallen to his lot, he 
said ; but it was always others who began ; he was invariably 
in the right, and they alone were to blame. He was more- 
over a firm believer in the divine right of kings. He was an 
ordinary man, he said, when his father died, and left him the 
chieftainship ; but directly he succeeded to the high office, he 
was conscious of power passing into his head, and down his 
back; he felt it enter, and knew that he was a Chief, clothed 
with authority, and possessed of wisdom ; and people then 
began to fear and reverence him. He mentioned this, as 
one would a fact of natural history, any doubt being quite 
out of the question. His people, too, believed in him, 
for they bathed in the river without the slightest fear of 
crocodiles, the Chief having placed a powerful medicine 



Chap. III. 

there, which protected them from the bite of these terrible 

Leaving the vessel opposite Chibisa's village, Drs. Living- 
stone and Kirk and a number of the Makololo started on foot 
for Lake Shirwa. They travelled in a northerly direction 
over a mountainous country. The people were far from 
being well-disposed to them, and some of their guides tried 
to mislead them, and could not be trusted. Masakasa, a Mako- 
lolo headman, overheard some remarks, which satisfied him 
that the guide was leading them into trouble. He was quiet 
till they reached a lonely spot, when he came up to Doctor 
Livingstone, and said, " That fellow is bad, he is taking us into 
mischief ; my spear is sharp, and there is no one here ; shall I 
cast him into the long grass?" Had the Doctor given the 
slightest token of assent, or even kept silence, never more 
would any one have been led by that guide, for in a twink- 
ling he would have been where "the wicked cease from 
troubling." It was afterwards found that in this case there 
was no treachery at all ; but a want of knowledge on their 
part of the language, and of the country. They asked to be 
led to " Nyanja Mukulu," or Great Lake, meaning, by this, 
Lake Shirwa ; and the guide took them round a terribly rough 
piece of mountainous country, gradually edging away towards 
a long marsh, which from the numbers of those animals we 
had seen there we had called the Elephant Marsh, but which 
was really the place known to him by the name " Nyanja 
Mukulu," or Great Lake. Nyanja or Nyanza means, generally, 
a marsh, lake, river, or even a mere rivulet. 

The party pushed on at last without guides, or only 
with crazy ones ; for, oddly enough, they were often 
under great obligations to the madmen of the different 
villages : one of these honoured them, as they slept 

Chap. III. 



in the open air, by dancing and singing at their feet the 
whole night. These poor fellows sympathized with the ex- 
plorers, probably in the belief that they belonged to their own 
class ; and, uninfluenced by the general opinion of their 
countrymen, they really pitied, and took kindly to the 
strangers, and often guided them faithfully from place to 
place, when no sane man could be hired for love or 

The bearing of the Manganja at this time was very inde- 
pendent ; a striking contrast to the cringing attitude they 
afterwards assumed, when the cruel scourge of slave-hunting 
passed over their country. Signals were given from the 
different villages by means of drums, and notes of defiance 
and intimidation were sounded in the travellers' ears by day ; 
and occasionally they were kept awake the whole night, in 
expectation of an instant attack. Drs. Livingstone and 
Kirk were desirous that nothing should occur to make the 
natives regard them as enemies; Masakasa, on the other 
hand, was anxious to show what he could do in the way 
of fighting them. 

The perseverance of the party was finally crowned with 
success ; for on the 18th of April they discovered Lake 
. Shirwa, a considerable body of bitter water, containing 
leeches, fish, crocodiles, and hippopotami. From having 
probably no outlet, the water is slightly brackish, and it 
appears to be deep, with islands like hills rising out of it. 
Their point of view was at the base of Mount Pirimiti or 
Mopeu-peu, on its S.S.W. side. Thence the prospect north- 
wards ended in a sea horizon with two small islands in the 
distance — a larger one, resembling a hill-top and covered 
with trees, rose more in the foreground. Ranges of hills 
appeared on the east ; and on the west stood Mount Chikala, 




Chap. III. 

which seems to be connected with the great mountain-mass 
called Zomba. 

The shore, near which they spent two nights, was covered 
with reeds and papyrus. Wishing to obtain the latitude by 
the natural horizon, they waded into the water some distance 
towards what was reported to be a sandbank, but were so 
assaulted by leeches, they were fain to retreat ; and a woman 
told them that in enticing them into the water the men only 
wanted to kill them. The information gathered was that this 
lake was nothing in size compared to another in the north, 
from which it is separated by only a tongue of land. The 
northern end of Shirwa has not been seen, though it has been 
passed ; the length of the lake may probably be 60 or 80 miles, 
and about 20 broad. The height above the sea is 1800 feet, 
and the taste of the water is like a weak solution of Epsom 
salts. The country around is very beautiful, and clothed 
with rich vegetation ; and the waves, at the time they were 
there, breaking and foaming over a rock on the south-eastern 
side, added to the beauty of the picture. Exceedingly lofty 
mountains, perhaps 8000 feet above the sea-level, stand 
near the eastern shore. When their lofty steep-sided summits 
appear, some above, some below the clouds, the scene is grand. 
This range is called Milanje; on the west stands Mount 
Zomba, 7000 feet in height, and some twenty miles long. 

Their object being rather to gain the confidence of the 
people by degrees, than to explore, they considered that they 
had advanced far enough into the country for one trip ; and 
believing that they could secure their end by a repe- 
tition of their visit, as they had done on the Shire, they 
decided to return to the vessel at Dakanamoio island ; but, 
instead of returning by the way they came, they passed down 
southwards close by Mount Chiradzuru, among the relatives 

Chap. III. 



of Chibisa, and thence by the pass Zedi, down to the Shire. 
And it was well that they got to the ship when they did ; for 
our excellent Quartermaster, John Walker, who had been 
left in charge, had been very ill of fever all the time of 
their absence; while those who had been roughing it for 
twenty-two days on the hills, and sleeping every night, except 
one, in the open air, came back well and hearty. Bowe, his 
companion, who had charge of the medicine, had not given 
him any, because he did not know what his illness was. 
One can scarcely mistake the fever if he attends to the 
symptoms already enumerated, or remembers that almost 
every complaint in this country is a form of fever, or is 
modified by the malaria. Walker's being a very severe 
case, a large dose of calomel was at once administered. 
This sometimes relieves when other remedies fail, but 
the risk of salivation must be run. When 20 grains are 
taken, it may cause an abundant flow of bile, and a cure be 
the result. This is mentioned not as a course to be followed, 
except when other remedies fail, or when jaundice super- 
venes. We have seen a case of this kind cured by a large 
dose of calomel, when a blister put on ths pit of the stomach, 
to allay vomiting, brought out serum as black as porter, as 
if the blood had been impregnated with bile. These hints are 
given, though we believe, as we have before stated, that no 
Mission or Expedition ought to enter the country, without a 
skilful surgeon as an essential part of its staff. 

Quartermaster Walker soon recovered, though, from the 
long continuance of the fever, his system was very much 
more shaken than it would have been, had the medicine been 
administered at once. The Kroomen had, while we were away, 
cut a good supply of wood for steaming, and we soon pro- 
ceeded down the river. 

G 2 


The steamer reached Tette on the 23rd of June, and, 
after undergoing repairs, proceeded to the Kongone to 
receive provisions from one of H.M. cruisers. We had been 
very abundantly supplied with first-rate stores, but were un- 
fortunate enough to lose a considerable portion of them, and 
had now to bear the privation as best we could. On the way 
down, we purchased a few gigantic cabbages and pumpkins at 
a native village below Mazaro. Our dinners had usually 
consisted of but a single course ; but we were surprised the 
next day by our black cook from Sierra Leone bearing 
in a second course. " What have you got there ? " was asked 
in wonder. "A tart, sir." "A tart! of what is it made?" 
" Of cabbage, sir." As we had no sugar, and could not " make, 
believe," as in the days of boyhood, we did not enjoy the 
feast that Tom's genius had prepared. Her Majesty's brig 
" Persian," Lieutenant Saumarez commanding, called on her 
way to the Cape ; and, though somewhat short of provisions 
herself, generously gave us all she could spare. We now 
parted with our Kroomen, as, from their inability to march, we 
could not use them in our land journeys. A crew was picked 
out from the Makololo, who, besides being good travellers, 
could cut wood, work the ship, and required only native food. 

While at the Kongone it was found necessary to beach the 
steamer for repairs. She was built of a newly-invented sort 
of steel plates, only a sixteenth of an inch in thickness, 
patented, but unfortunately never tried before. To build an 
exploring ship of untried material was a mistake. Some 
chemical action on this preparation of steel caused a 
minute hole ; from this point, branches like lichens, or 
the little ragged stars we sometimes see in thawing ice, 
radiated in all directions. Small holes went through wherever 
a bend occurred in these branches. The bottom very soon 



became like a sieve, completely full of minute holes, which 
leaked perpetually. The engineer stopped the larger ones, 
but the vessel was no sooner afloat, than new ones broke out. 
The first news of a morning was commonly the unpleasant 
announcement of another leak in the forward compartment, or 
in the middle, which was worse still. 

Frequent showers fell on our way up the Zambesi, in the 
beginning of August. On the 8th we had upwards of three 
inches of rain, which large quantity, more than falls in any 
single rainy day during the season at Tette, we owed to being 
near the sea. Sometimes the cabin was nearly flooded ; for, 
in addition to the leakage from below, rain poured through 
the roof, and an umbrella had to be used whenever we 
wished to write : the mode of coupling the compartments, 
too, was a new one, and the action of the hinder com- 
partment on the middle one pumped up the water of the 
river, and sent it in streams over the floor and lockers, 
where lay the cushions which did double duty as chairs 
and beds. In trying to form an opinion of the climate, it must 
be recollected that much of the fever, from which we suffered, 
was caused by sleeping on these wet cushions. Many of the 
botanical specimens, laboriously collected and carefully pre- 
pared by Dr. Kirk, were destroyed, or double work imposed, 
by their accidentally falling into wet places in the cabin. 

When lying off an island a few miles below Mazaro, the 
owner of it, Paul, a relative of the rebel Mariano, paid us a 
visit. He had just returned from Mosambique, having, 
to use the common phrase of the country, "arranged" with 
the authorities. He told us that Governor-General d' Almeida 
knew nothing of the Kongone, and thought, with others, that 
the Zambesi entered the sea at Quillimane. His Excellency 
had been making inquiries of him, respecting the correctness 



of Dr. Livingstone's map in this particular. This is men- 
tioned because lately the Portuguese have seriously attempted 
to show that the Kongone was previously well known to their 
slavers. Paul is of mixed breed, but seems to thrive, being 
the only really fat man of the descendants of the Portuguese 
in East Africa. It is a pity that a certain class of diseases, 
self-induced and inherited, have become so universal among 
half-castes, that no conclusion can here be drawn as to their 
permanence as a race. 

Chap. IV. 




Up the Shire again, August, 1859 — Mount Morambala — Hot fountain — • 
Chase by a buffalo — Nyanja Pangono, or Little Lake — Nyanja Mukulu, or 
Great Lake — Ancient Portuguese geographical knowledge unavailable — 
Chikanda-kaclze — Accident from unsuitability of steamer — Hippopotamus 
traps — Mosquitoes — Elephants — View of the Shire marshes — Birds — 
Palm wine, or Sura — Salt-making — Brackish soil and superior cotton — 
Dakanamoio Island — A loving hornbill — Chibisa — Child sold into 

About the middle of August, after cutting wood at Sha- 
inoara, we again steamed up the Shire, with the inten- 
tion of becoming better acquainted with the people, and 
making another and longer journey on foot to the north 
of Lake Shirwa, in search of Lake Nyassa, of which 
we had already received some information, under the 
name Nyinyesi (the stars). The Shire is much nar- 
rower than the Zambesi, but deeper, and more easily 
navigated. It drains a low, and exceedingly fertile valley 
of from fifteen to twenty miles in breadth. Ranges of 
wooded hills bound this valley on both sides. For the first 
twenty miles the hills on the left bank are close to the 
river ; then comes Morambala, whose name means " the lofty 
watch-tower," a detached mountain 500 yards from the river's 
brink, which rises, with steep sides on the west, to 4000 feet in 
height, and is about seven miles in length. It is wooded 
up to the very top, and very beautiful. The southern end, 
seen from a distance, has a fine gradual slope, and looks 
as if it might be of easy ascent ; but the side which faces 
the Shire is steep and rocky, especially in the upper half. 



Chap. IV. 

A small village peeps out about halfway up the mountain ; 
it has a»pure and bracing atmosphere ; and is perched above 
mosquito range. The people on the summit have a very 
different climate and vegetation, from those of the plains ; 
but they have to spend a great portion of their existence 
amidst white fleecy clouds, which, in the rainy season, 
rest daily on the top of their favourite mountain. We were 
kindly treated by these mountaineers on our first ascent ; 
before our second they were nearly all swept away by 
Mariano. Dr. Kirk found upwards of thirty species of ferns 
on this and other mountains, and even good-sized tree-ferns ; 
though scarcely a single kind is to be met with on the plains. 
Lemon and orange trees grew wild, and pineapples had been 
planted by the people. Many large hornbills, hawks, monkeys, 
antelopes, and rhinoceroses found a home and food among the 
great trees round its base. A hot fountain boils up on the 
plain near the north end. It bubbles out of the earth, clear 
as crystal, at two points, or eyes, a few yards apart from each 
other, and sends off a fine flowing stream of hot water. The 
temperature was found to be 174° Fahr., and it boiled an egg- 
in about the usual time. Our guide threw in a small branch 
to show us how speedily the Maclse-awrra (boiling water) could 
kill the leaves. Unlucky lizards and insects did not seem to 
understand the nature of a hot-spring, as many of their 
remains were lying at the bottom. A large beetle had 
alighted on the water, and been killed before it had time to 
fold its wings. An incrustation, smelling of sulphur* has 
been deposited by the water on the stones. About a hundred 
feet from the eye of the fountain the mud is as hot as can be 
borne by the body. In taking a bath there, it makes the 
skin perfectly clean, and none of the mud adheres: it is 
strange that the Portuguese do not resort to it for the 

Chap. IV. 



numerous cutaneous diseases, with which they are so often 

A few clumps of the palm and acacia trees appear west 
of Morambala, on the rich plain forming the tongue of land 
between the rivers Shire and Zambesi. This is a good place 
for all sorts of game. The Zambesi canoe-men were afraid 
to sleep on it from the idea of lions being there ; they pre- 
ferred to pass the night on an island. Some black men, 
who accompanied us as volunteer workmen from Shupanga, 
called out one evening that a lion stood on the bank. It 
was very dark, and we could only see two sparkling lights, 
said to be the lion's eyes looking at us ; for here, as 
elsewhere, they have a theory that the lion's eyes always 
flash fire at night. Not being fireflies — as they did not move 
when a shot was fired in their direction — they were probably 

Beyond Morambala the Shire comes winding through an 
extensive marsh. For many miles to the north a broad 
sea of fresh green grass extends, and is so level, that it might 
be used for taking the meridian altitude of the sun. Ten 
or fifteen miles north of Morambala, stands the dome-shaped 
mountain Makanga, or Chi-kanda; several others with 
granitic-looking peaks stretch away to the north, and form 
the eastern boundary of the valley ; another range, but of 
metamorphic rocks, commencing opposite Senna, bounds the 
valley on the west. After steaming through a portion of 
this marsh, we came to a broad belt of palm, and other 
trees, crossing the fine plain on the right bank. Marks of 
large game were abundant. Elephants had been feeding 
on the palm nuts, which have a pleasant fruity taste, and 
are used as food by man. Two pythons were observed coiled 
together among the branches of a large tree, and were both 



Chap. IV. 

shot. The larger of the two, a female, was ten feet long. They 
are harmless, and said to be good eating. The Makololo 
having set fire to the grass where they were cutting wood, a 
solitary buffalo rushed out of the conflagration, and made a 
furious charge at an active young fellow named Mantlanyane. 
Never did his fleet limbs serve him better than during the few 
seconds of his fearful flight before the maddened animal. 
When he reached the bank, and sprang into the river, the 
' infuriated beast was scarcely six feet behind him. Towards 
evening, after the day's labour in wood-cutting was over, 
some of the men went fishing. They followed the com- 
mon African custom of agitating the water, by giving it 
a few sharp strokes with the top of the fishing-rod, imme- 
diately after throwing in the line, to attract the attention 
of the fish to the bait. Having caught nothing, the 
reason assigned was the same as would have been given in 
England under like circumstances, namely, that " the wind 
made the fish cold, and they would not bite." Many gardens 
of maize, pumpkins, and tobacco, fringed the marshy banks 
as we went on. They belong to natives of the hills, who come 
down in the dry season, and raise a crop on parts at other 
times flooded. While the crops are growing, large quantities 
of fish are caught, chiefly Clarias capensis, and Mugil Afri- 
canus ; they are dried for sale or for future consumption. 

As we ascended, we passed a deep stream about thirty yards 
wide, flowing in from a body of open water several miles 
broad. Numbers of men were busy at different parts of it, 
filling their canoes with the lotus root, called NyiJca, which, 
when boiled or roasted, resembles our chestnuts, and. is 
extensively used in Africa as food. Out of this lagoon, and by 
this stream, the chief part of the duckweed of the Shire flows. 
The lagoon itself is called Nyanja ea Motope (Lake of Mud). 


It is also named Nyanja Pangono (Little Lake), while tlie 
elephant marsh goes by the name of Nyanja Mukulu (Great 
Lake). It is evident from the shore line still to be observed 
on the adjacent hills, that in ancient times these were really 
lakes, and the traditional names thus preserved are only 
another evidence of the general desiccation which Africa has 
undergone. No one would believe that beyond these little 
and great Nyanjas Portuguese geographical knowledge never 
extended. But the Viscount Sa da Bandeira, in" an official 
letter to the Governor-General of Mosambique, in his patriotic 
anxiety to prove that we did not discover Lake Nyassa, 
actually quotes as the only information the ancient archives 
of Lisbon can disclose, that the people of Senna held com- 
mercial intercourse with the people on Morambala, and of 
course, as he avers, must have sailed into the little and great 
marshes or Nyanjas referred to above. As if either of these 
were Lake Nyassa ! The Shire cataracts are quite ignored. 
The great Victoria Falls of Mosi-oa-tunya, we are aware, were 
quite unknown to the Portuguese ; but, until we read his 
Excellency's quotations from hearsay reports of some ancient 
author, we believed that the five great Murchison Cataracts, 
which form a descent of 1200 feet, only a hundred and fifty 
miles from Senna, must have been known to the old Portuguese, 
and we still incline to the belief that they must have 
been explored ; but, since the discovery was hidden from the 
rest of the world, it takes rank with the explorations of illiterate 
Africans. It is a pity, but the fact is, that the good Viscount 
now feels the inconvenience which follows the short-sighted 
policy of his ancestors in geographical matters, as much as his 
descendants will feel and lament the present "dog in the 
manger " commercial policy of his contemporaries. One of 
the J esuits formerly made a business-like proposal to explore 



Chap. IV. 

Lake Maravi, but nowhere is it stated that it ever was carried 
into effect. This, we regret to say, is all the information we 
have been able to gain on this subject from the Portuguese. 
If we had been able to discover more particulars of their ex- 
plorations, we certainly are not conscious of a desire to dwarf 

Late in the afternoon of the first day's steaming, 
after we left the wooding-place, we called at the vil- 
lage of Chikanda-Kadze, a female Chief, to purchase rice 
for our men ; but we were now in the blissful region where 
time is absolutely of no account, and where men may sit 
down and rest themselves when tired ; so they requested 
us to wait till next day, and they would then sell us some 
food. As our forty black men, how r ever, had nothing to cook 
for supper, we were obliged to steam on to reach a village a 
few r miles above. When we meet those who care not whether 
we purchase or let it alone, or who think men ought only to be 
in a hurry when fleeing from an enemy, our ideas about time 
being money, and the power of the purse, receive a shock. 
The state of eager competition, which in England wears out 
both mind and body, and makes life bitter, is here happily 
unknown. The cultivated spots are mere dots compared to 
the broad fields of rich soil, which is never either grazed or 
tilled. Pity that the plenty in store for all, from our Father's 
bountiful hands, is not enjoyed by more. 

The wretched little steamer could not carry all the hands 
we needed ; so, to lighten her, we put some into the boats 
and towed them astern. In the dark, one of the boats was 
capsized ; but all in it, except one poor fellow who could not 
swim, were picked up. His loss threw a gloom over us all, 
and added to the chagrin we often felt at having been so ill- 
served in our sorry craft by one of our own countrymen. Few 

Chap. IV. 



would have acted thus towards us : we had received the assur- 
ance that the steamer would carry from ten to twelve tons, 
and about thirty-six men ; but we found that this made her 
draw so much as to be near sinking, and we adopted the expe- 
dient mentioned, with the unfortunate result described, 

Next clay we arrived at the village of Mboma (16° 56' 30" S.), 
where the people raised large quantities of rice, and were eager 
traders ; the rice was sold at wonderfully low rates, and we 
could not purchase a tithe of the food brought for sale. 

African Fiddle of one String. 

A native minstrel serenaded us in the evening, playing 
several quaint tunes on a species of one-stringed fiddle, 
accompanied by wild, but not unmusical songs. He told the 
Makololo that he intended to play all night to induce us 
to give him a present. The nights being cold, the thermo- 
meter falling to 47°, with occasional fogs, he was asked if he 
was not afraid of perishing from cold ; but, with the genuine 
spirit of an Italian organ-grinder, he replied, " Oh, no ; I shall 
spend the night with my white comrades in the big canoe ; 
I have often heard of the white men, but have never seen them 
till now, and I must sing and play well to them." A small 
piece of cloth, however, bought him off, and he moved away 



in good humour. The water of the river was 70° at sunrise, 
which was 23° warmer than the air at the same time, and 
this caused fogs, which rose like steam off the river. When 
this is the case cold bathing in the mornings at this time of 
the year is improper, for, instead of a glow on coming out, one 
is apt to get a chill ; the air being so much colder than the 

A range of hills, commencing opposite Senna, comes to 
within two or three miles of Mboma village, and then runs 
in a north-westerly direction ; the principal hill is named 
Malawe ; a number of villages stand on its tree-covered 
sides, and coal is found cropping out in the rocks. The 
country improves as we ascend, the rich valley becoming 
less swampy, and adorned with a number of trees. 

Both banks are dotted with hippopotamns traps, over every 
track which these animals have made in going up out of the 
water to graze. The hippopotamus feeds on grass alone, and, 
where there is any danger, only at night. Its enormous lips 
act like a mowing-machine, and form a path of shortcropped 
grass as it feeds. We never saw it eat aquatic plants or 
reeds. The tusks seem weapons of both offence and defence. 
The hippopotamus trap consists of a beam five or six feet 
long, armed with a spear-head or hard-wood spike, covered 
with poison, and suspended to a forked pole by a cord, 
which, coming down to the path, is held by a catch, to be 
set free when the beast treads on it. Being wary brutes, 
they are still very numerous. One got frightened by the 
ship, as she was steaming close to the bank. In its eager 
hurry to escape it rushed on shore, and ran directly under 
a trap, when down came the heavy beam on its back, driv- 
ing the poisoned spear-head a foot deep into its flesh. In 
its agony it plunged back into the river, to die in a few 


hours, and afterwards furnished a feast for the natives. The 
poison on the spear-head does not affect the meat, except 
the part around the wound, and that is thrown away. In 
some places the descending beam is weighted with heavy 
stones, but here the hard heavy wood is sufficient. 

View of Steamer, Traps, and dead Hippopoamus. 

About dusk we were hailed from the bank by an authorita- 
tive voice. (i Where are you going to ? Where are you going 
to ? What is all this journeying about ? " " Yon may sleep 
there, so do not trouble yourself," was the answer returned 
by the Makololo. 

" She is leaking worse than ever forward, sir, and there is 
a foot of water in the hold," was our first salutation on the 
morning of the 20th. But we have become accustomed 
to these things now, and are not surprised to hear of a new 
" cataclysm " at any time. The cabin-floor is always wet, and 
one is obliged to mop up the water many times a day, giving 


Chap. IV. 

some countenance to the native idea that Englishmen, live in 
or on the water, and have no houses but ships. The cabin 
is now a favourite breeding-place for mosquitoes, and we have 
to support both the ship-bred and shore-bred bloodsuckers, 
of which several species show us their irritating attentions. 
A large brown sort, called by the Portuguese mansos (tame), 
flies straight to its victim, and goes to work at once, as though 
it were an invited guest. Some of the small kinds carry 
uncommonly sharp lancets, and very potent poison. " What 
would these insects eat, if we did not pass this way ? " 
becomes a natural question. 

The juices of plants, and decaying vegetable matter in the 
mud, probably form the natural food of mosquitoes, and blood 
is not necessary for their existence. They appear so com- 
monly at malarious spots, that their presence may be taken 
as a hint to man to be off to more healthy localities. None 
appear on the high lands. On the low lands they swarm in 
myriads. The females alone are furnished with the biting ap- 
paratus, and their number appears to be out of all proportion 
in excess of the males. At anchor, on a still evening, they 
were excessively annoying; and the sooner we took refuge 
under our mosquito curtains, the better. The miserable and 
sleepless night that only one mosquito inside the curtain can 
cause, is so well known, and has been so often described, that 
it is needless to describe it here. One soon learns, from 
experience, that to beat out the curtains thoroughly before 
entering them, so that not one of these pests can possibly 
be harboured within, is the only safeguard against such 
severe trials to one's tranquillity and temper. 

A few miles above Mboma we came again to the village 
(16° 44' 30" S.), of the Chief, Tingane, the beat of whose 
war-drums can speedily muster some hundreds of armed men. 


The bows and poisoned arrows here are of superior work- 
manship to those below. Mariano's slave-hunting parties 
stood in great awe of these barbed arrows, and long kept 
aloof from Tingane's villages. His people were friendly 
enough with us now, and covered the banks with a variety 
of articles for sale. The majestic mountain, Pirone, to 
which we have given the name of Mount Clarendon, now 
looms in sight, and further to the N.W. the southern end 
of the grand Milanje range rises in the form of an un- 
finished sphinx, looking down on Lake Shirwa. The Kuo 
(16° 31' 0" S.) is said to have its source in the Milanje 
mountains, and flows to the S.W., to join the Shire some 
distance above Tingane's. A short way beyond the Kuo 
lies the elephant marsh, or Nyanja Mukulu, which is fre- 
quented by vast herds of these animals. We believe that 
we counted eight hundred elephants in sight at once. In 
the choice of such a stronghold, they have shown their 
usual sagacity, for no hunter can get near them through 
the swamps. They now keep far from the steamer; but, 
when she first came up, we steamed into the midst of a 
herd, and some were shot from the ship's deck. A single 
lesson was sufficient to teach them that the puffing monster 
was a thing to be avoided; and at the first glimpse they 
are now off two or three miles to the midst of the marsh, 
which is furrowed in every direction by wandering branches 
of the Shire. A fine young elephant was here caught alive, 
as he was climbing up the bank to follow his retreating 
dam. When laid hold of, he screamed with so much energy 
that, to escape a visit from the enraged mother, we steamed 
off, and dragged him through the water by the proboscis. As 
the men were holding his trunk over the gunwale, Monga, 
a brave Makololo elephant-hunter, rushed aft, and drew his 




Chap. IY. 

knife across it in a sort of frenzy peculiar to the chase. The 
wound 'was skilfully sewn up, and the young animal soon 
became quite tame, but, unfortunately, the breathing pre- 
vented the cut from healing, and he died in a few days from 
loss of blood. Had he lived, and had we been able to bring 
him home, he would have been the first African elephant 
ever seen in England. The African male elephant is from 
ten, to a little over eleven feet in height, and differs from the 
Asiatic species, more particularly in the convex shape of his 
forehead, and the enormous size of his ears. In Asia many 
of the males, and all the females, are without tusks, but in 
Africa both sexes are provided with these weapons. The 
enamel in the molar teeth is arranged differently in the two 
species. By an admirable provision, new teeth constantly 
come up at the part, where in man the wisdom teeth ap- 
pear, and these push the others along, and out at the front 
end of the jaws, thus keeping the molars sound by renewal, 
till the animal attains a very great age. The tusks of 
animals from dry rocky countries are very much more dense 
and heavier than those from wet and marshy districts, but 
the latter attain much the larger size. 

The Shire marshes support prodigious numbers of many 
kinds of water-fowl. An hour at the mast-head unfolds 
novel views of life in an African marsh. Near the edge, 
and on the branches of some favourite tree, rest scores 
of plotuses and cormorants, which stretch their snake-like 
necks, and in mute amazement turn one eye and then 
another towards the approaching monster. By-and-bye the 
timid ones begin to fly off, or take " headers " into the 
stream ; but a few of the bolder, or more composed, remain, 
only taking the precaution to spread their wings ready for in- 
stant flight. The pretty ardetta (Herodias bubulcus), of a light 



yellow colour when at rest, but seemingly of a pure white 
when flying, takes wing, and sweeps across the green grass 
in large numbers, often showing us where buffaloes and 
elephants are, by perching on their backs. Flocks of ducks, 
of which the kind called " Soriri " (Dendrocygna personata) 
is most abundant, being night feeders meditate quietly 
by the small lagoons, until startled by the noise of the 
steam machinery. Pelicans glide over the water, catching 
fish, while the Scopus (Scopus umbretta) and large herons 
peer intently into pools. The large black and white spur- 
winged goose (a constant marauder of native gardens) 
springs up, and circles round to find out what the disturbance 
can be, and then settles down again with a splash. Hundreds 
of Linongolos (Anastomus lamelligerus) rise on the wing 
from the clumps of reeds, or low trees (the Eschinomena, 
from which pith hats are made), on which they build in 
colonies, and are speedily high in mid-air. Charming little 
red and yellow weavers (Ploceidce) remind one of butterflies, 
as they fly in and out of the tall grass, or hang to the 
mouths of their pendent nests, chattering briskly to their 
mates within. These weavers seem to have " cock nests," 
built with only a roof, and a perch beneath, with a doorway 
on each side. The natives say they are made to protect the 
bird from the rain. Though her husband is very attentive, 
we have seen the hen bird tearing her mate's nest to pieces, 
but why we cannot tell. Kites and vultures are busy over- 
head, beating the ground for their repast of carrion ; and 
the solemn-looking, stately-stepping Marabout, with a taste 
for dead fish, or men, stalks slowly along the almost 
stagnant channels. Groups of men and boys are searching 
diligently in various places for lotus and other roots. Some 
are standing in canoes, on the weed-covered ponds, spearing 

H 2 



Chap. IV. 

fish, while others are punting over the small intersecting 
streams, to examine their sunken fish-baskets. 


Towards evening, hundreds of pretty little hawks (Ery- 
tliropus vesj>ertimis) are seen flying in a southerly direction, 
and feeding on dragon-flies and locusts. They come, ap- 
parently, from resting on the palm-trees during the heat 
of the day. Flocks of scissor-bills (Rhyncojys) are then 
also on the wing, and in search of food, ploughing the 
water with their lower mandibles, which are nearly half 
an inch longer than the upper ones. 

At the north-eastern end of the marsh, and about three 
miles from the river, commences a great forest of palm-trees 
(Borassus JEthiopium). It extends many miles, and at one 
point comes close to the river. The grey trunks and green tops 
of this immense mass of trees give a pleasing tone of colour 
to the view. The mountain-range, which rises close behind 
the palms, is generally of a cheerful green, and has many trees, 
with patches of a lighter tint among them, as if spots of land 
had once been cultivated. The sharp angular rocks and dells 
on its sides have the appearance of a huge crystal broken; 
and this is so often the case in Africa, that one can guess 
pretty nearly at sight, whether a range is of the old crystal- 
line rocks or not. The Borassus, though not an oil-bearing- 
palm, is a useful tree. The fibrous pulp, round the large 
nuts, is of a sweet fruity taste, and is eaten by men and 
elephants. The natives bury the nuts until the kernels begin 

Chap. IV. 



to sprout; when dug up and broken, the inside resembles 
coarse potatoes, and is prized in times of scarcity as nutritious 
food. During several months of the year, palm-wine, or sura, 
is obtained in large quantities; when fresh, it is a pleasant 
drink, somewhat like champagne, and not at all intoxi- 
cating ; though, after standing a few hours, it becomes highly 
so. Sticks, a foot long, are driven into notches in the hard 
outside of the tree, — the inside being soft or hollow, — to serve 
as a ladder ; the top of the fruit-shoot is cut off, and the sap, 
pouring out at the fresh wound, is caught in an earthen pot, 
which is hung at the point. A thin slice is taken off the end, 
to open the pores, and make the juice flow every time the 
owner ascends to empty the pot. Temporary huts are erected 
in the forest, and men and boys remain by their respective 
trees clay and night ; the nuts, fish, and wine, being their sole 
food. The Portuguese use the palm-wine as yeast, and it 
makes bread so light, that it melts in the mouth like froth. 

Beyond the marsh the country is higher, and has a much 
larger population. We passed a long line of temporary huts, 
on a plain on the right bank, with crowds of men and women 
hard at work making salt. They obtain it by mixing the 
earth, which is here highly saline, with water, in a pot with a 
small hole in it, and then evaporating the liquid, which runs 
through, in the sun. From the number of women we saw 
carrying it off in bags, we concluded that vast quantities 
must be made at these works. It is worth observing that 
on soils like this, containing salt, the cotton is of larger 
and finer staple than elsewhere. We saw large tracts of 
this rich brackish soil both in the Shire and Zambesi 
valleys, and hence, probably, sea-island cotton would do well ; 
a single plant of it, reared by Major Sicard, flourished and 
produced the long staple and peculiar tinge of this celebrated 



Chap. IV. 

variety, though planted only in the street at Tette ; and there 
also a salt efflorescence appears, probably from decomposition 
of the rock, off which the people scrape it for use. 

Above the palm-trees, a succession of rich low islands 
stud the river. Many of them are cultivated and grow 
maize at all times of the year, for we saw it in different 
stages of growth ; some patches ripe, and others half-grown, 
or just sprouting out of the ground. The shores are adorned 
with rows of banana-trees, and the fruit is abundant and 
cheap. Many of the reedy banks are so intertwined with 
convolvulus, and other creepers, as to be absolutely impene- 
trable. They are beautiful to the eye, a smooth wall of 
living green rising out of the crystal water, and adorned 
with lovely flowers; but so dense, that, if capsized in the 
water, one could scarcely pass through to land. 

The large village of the Chief, Mankokwe, occupies a site 
on the right bank ; he owns a number of fertile islands, and 
is said to be the Kunclo, or paramount Chief, of a large 
district. Being of an unhappy suspicious disposition, he 
would not see us ; so we thought it best to move on, rather 
than spend time in seeking his favour. 

On the 25th August we reached Dakanamoio Island, 
opposite the perpendicular bluff on which Chibisa's village 
stands ; he had gone, with most of his people, to live near 
the Zambesi, but his headman was civil, and promised us 
guides and whatever else we needed. A few of the men 
were busy cleaning, sorting, spinning, and weaving cotton. 
This is a common sight in nearly every village, and each 
family appears to have its patch of cotton, as our own 
ancestors in Scotland had each his patch of flax. Near sunset 
an immense flock of the largest species of hornbill (Buceros 
cristatus) came here to roost on the great trees which 

Chap. IV. 



skirt the edge of the cliff. They leave early in the mornings 
often before sunrise, for their feeding-places, coming and 
going in pairs. They are evidently of a loving disposition, 
and strongly attached to each other, the male always nest- 
ling close beside his mate. A fine male fell to the ground, 
from fear, at the report of Dr. Kirks gun ; it was caught and 
kept on board; the female did not go off in the mornings 
to feed with the others, but flew round the ship, anxiously 
trying, by her plaintive calls, to induce her beloved one to 
follow her : she came again in the evenings to repeat the in- 
vitations. The poor disconsolate captive soon refused to eat, 
and in five clays died of grief, because he could not have her 
company. No internal injury could be detected after death. 

Chibisa and his wife, with a natural show of parental feel- 
ing, had told the Doctor, on his previous visit, that a few 
years before some of Chisaka's men had kidnapped and sold 
their little daughter, and that she was now a slave to the 
padre at Tette. On his return to Tette, the Doctor tried 
hard to ransom and restore the girl to her parents, and offered 
twice the value of a slave ; the padre seemed willing, but 
she could not be found. This' padre was better than the 
average men of the country; and, being always civil and 
obliging, would probably have restored her gratuitously, but 
she had been sold, it might be, to the distant tribe Bazizulu, 
or he could not tell where. Custom had rendered his feel- 
ings callous, and Chibisa had to be told that his child would 
never return. It is this callous state of mincl which leads 
some of our own blood to quote Scripture in support of 
slavery. If we could afford to take a backward step in 
civilization, we might find men among ourselves who would 
in like manner prove Mormonism or any other enormity to 
be divine. 



Chap. V. 


Leave the vessel for discovery of Lake Nyassa — Manganja higlilands, beauti- 
ful, well- wooded, and well-watered — Pasturage — Style of introduction to 
the Manganja — People, agriculturists, and workers in iron, cotton, &c. — 
Foreign and indigenous cotton — The Pelele, or lip-ring — Possible use for 
this ornament — Beer-drinkers — Ordeal by Muave — Mourning for the dead 
— Belief in a Supreme Being — Pamalombe Lakelet — Chiefs wife killed 
by a crocodile — Discovery of Lake Nyassa, 16th September, 1S59 — Its 
subsequent discovery by Dr. Eoscher — The "Goree" or slave-stick — Seve- 
ral modes by which the slave-trade is supplied — Ajawa — Manganja — More 
suspicious than the Zambesi tribes — Zimika's lack of hospitality — Fine 
and bracing climate — Great influence to be gained by a steamer on Lake 

i Nyassa. 

We left the ship, on the 28th of August, 1859, for the dis- 
covery of Lake Nyassa. Our party numbered forty-two in all 
— four whites, thirty-six Makololo, and two guides. We did 
not actually need so many, either for carriage or defence; 
but took them because we believed that, human nature 
being everywhere the same, blacks are as ready as whites 
to take advantage of the weak, and are as civil and respectful 
to the powerful. We armed our men with muskets, which 
gave us influence, although it did not add much to our 
strength, as most of the men had never drawn a trigger, 
and in any conflict w T ould in all probability have been more 
dangerous to us than to the enemy. 

Our path crossed the valley, in a north-easterly direction, 
up the course of a beautiful flowing stream. Many of the 
gardens had excellent cotton growing in them. An hour's 
march brought us to the foot of the Manganja hills, up 

•Chap. Y. 



which lay the toilsome road. The vegetation soon changed ; 
*as we rose, bamboos appeared, and new trees and plants 
were met with, which gave such incessant employment to 
•Dr. Kirk, that he travelled the distance three times over. 
Eemarkably fine trees, one of which has oil-yielding seeds, 
-and belongs to the mahogany family, grow well in the 
hollows along the rivulet courses. The ascent became 
very fatiguing, and we were glad of a rest. Looking 
back from an elevation of a thousand feet, we beheld a 
lovely prospect. The eye takes in at a glance the valley 
beneath, and the many windings of its silver stream 
Makubula, or Kubvula, from the shady hill-side, where it 
emerges in foaming haste, to where it slowly glides into the 
tranquil Shire ; then the Shire itself is seen for many a mile 
above and below Chibisa's, and the great level country beyond, 
with its numerous green woods ; until the prospect, west and 
north-west, is bounded far away by masses of peaked and 
dome-shaped blue mountains, that fringe the highlands 
of the Maravi country. 

After a weary march we halted at Makolongwe, the village 
of Chitimba. It stands in a woody hollow on the first of 
the three terraces of the Manganja hills, and, like all other 
Manganja villages, is surrounded by an impenetrable hedge 
of poisonous euphorbia. This tree casts a deep shade, which 
would render it difficult for bowmen to take aim at the 
villagers inside. The grass does not grow beneath it, and 
this may be the reason why it is so universally used, 
for when dry the grass would readily convey fire to the 
huts inside ; moreover, the hedge acts as a fender to all 
flying sparks. As strangers are wont to do, we sat down 
under some fine trees near the entrance of the village. 
A couple of mats, made of split reeds, were spread for the 



Chap. V. 

white men to sit on ; and the headman brought a seguati, 
or present, of a small goat and a basket of meal. The full 
value in beads and cotton cloth was handed to him in return. 
He measured the cloth, doubled it, and then measured that 
again. The beads were scrutinized ; he had never seen beads 
of that colour before, and should like to consult with his 
comrades before accepting them, and this, after repeated 
examinations and much anxious talk, he concluded to do. 
Meal and peas were then brought for sale. A fathom of 
blue cotton-cloth, a full dress for man or woman, was pro- 
duced. Our Makololo headman, Sininyane, thinking a part 
of it was enough for the meal, was proceeding to tear it, 
when Chitimba remarked that it was a pity to cut such 
a nice dress for his wife, he would rather bring more 
meal. " All right," said Sininyane; "but look, the cloth is 
very wide, so see that the basket which carries the meal be 
wide too, and add a cock to make the meal taste nicely." A 
brisk trade sprang up at once, each being eager to obtain as 
fine things as his neighbour, — and all were in good humour. 
Women and girls began to pound and grind meal, and men 
and boys chased the screaming fowls over the village, until 
thev ran them down. In a few hours the market was 
completely glutted with every sort of native food ; the prices, 
however, rarely fell, as they could easily eat what was not 

We slept under the trees, the air being 'pleasant, and 
no mosquitoes on the hills. According to our usual plan of 
marching, by early dawn our camp was in motion. After a 
cup of coffee, and a bit of biscuit we were on the way. 
The air was deliciously cool, and the path a little easier than 
that of yesterday. We passed a number of villages, oc- 
cupying very picturesque spots among the hills, and in a few 

Chap. V. 



hours gained the upper terrace, 3000 feet above the level of 
the sea. The plateau lies west of the Milanje Mountains, and 
its north-eastern border slopes down to Lake Shirwa. We 
were all charmed with the splendid country, and looked with 
never-failing delight on its fertile plains, its numerous hills, 
and majestic mountains. In some of the passes we saw 
bramble-berries growing; and the many other flowers, 
though of great beauty, did not remind us of youth and 
of home like the ungainly thorny bramble-bushes. We 
were a week in crossing the highlands in a northerly 
direction ; then we descended into the Upper Shire Valley, 
which is nearly 1200 feet above the level of the sea. This 
valley is wonderfully fertile, and supports a large population. 
After leaving the somewhat flat-topped southern portion, the 
most prominent mountain of the Zomba range is Njongone, 
which has a fine stream running past its northern base. We 
were detained at the end of the chain some days by one of 
our companions being laid up with fever. One night we 
were suddenly aroused by buffaloes rushing close by the 
sick-bed. We were encamped by a wood on the border of 
a marsh, but our patient soon recovered, notwithstanding 
the unfavourable situation, and the poor accommodation. 

The Manganja country is delightfully well watered. The 
clear, cool, gushing streams are very numerous. Once 
we passed seven fine brooks and a spring in a single hour, 
and this, too, near the close of the dry season. Mount 
Zomba, which is twenty miles long, and from 7000 to 8000 
feet high, has a beautiful stream flowing through a verdant 
valley on its summit, and running away down into Lake 
Shirwa. The highlands are well wooded, and many trees, 
admirable for^their height and timber, grow on the various 
watercourses. " Is this country good for cattle ? " we inquired 



Chap. V. 

of a Makololo herdsman, whose occupation had given him skill 
in pasturage. " Truly," he replied, " do you not see abundance 
of those grasses which the cattle love,'and get fat upon ?" Yet 
the people have but few goats, and fewer sheep. With the 
exception of an occasional leopard, there are no beasts of prey 
to disturb domestic animals. Wool-sheep would, without 
doubt, thrive on these highlands. The Manganja generally live 
in villages, each of which has its own headman, and he may be 
ruler over several adjacent villages. The people are regarded 
as his children. All the petty chiefs of a particular portion 
of country give a sort of allegiance to a paramount chief, 
called the Kondo, or Kundo. They are bound to pay him 
a small annual tribute, and one of the tusks of every ele- 
phant killed ; and it is his duty in return to assist and 
protect them when attacked by an enemy. Mankokwe is 
the Kundo of the southern portion of the highlands ; but 
he is a besotted character, who never visits nor aids them 
as his father did, and so the tribute is rarely paid. Still 
all acknowledge him as their Eundo, and admit that it is 
wrong in them not to pay the tribute, though wrong in him 
not to help them when in trouble. Part of the Upper Shire 
Valley has a lady paramount, named Nyango; and in her 
dominions, women rank higher and receive more respectful 
treatment than their sisters on the hills. 

The hill Chief, Mongazi, called his wife to take charge of a 
present we had given him. She dropped down on her knees, 
clapping her hands in reverence, before and after receiving 
our present from his lordly hands. It was painful to see the 
abject manner, in which the women of the hill tribes knelt 
beside the path as we passed; but a great difference took 
place when we got into JSTyango's country. The headman of 
the first of her villages, though told that the people of three 

Chap. V. 



successive villages had refused to admit us, said "that it 
made no difference, we might sleep in his." He then asked 
that his wife also might be allowed to come and look at the 
watch, compass, and other curiosities. She came with other 
women, and seemed to be a modest and intelligent person. 
Her husband always consulted her before concluding a bargain, 
and was evidently influenced by her opinion. The sites of 
the villages are selected with judgment and good taste, as 
a flowing stream is always near, and shady trees grow around. 
In many cases the trees have been planted by the headman 
himself. The Boalo, or spreacling-place, is generally at one 
end of the village ; it is an area of twenty or thirty yards made 
smooth and neat, near the favourite banyan and other trees, 
which throw a grateful shade over it. Here the men sit at 
various sorts of work during the day, and smoke tobacco and 
bang ; and here, on the clear delicious moonlight nights, they 
sing, dance, and drink beer. 

On entering a village, we proceeded, as all strangers do, at 
once to the Boalo: mats of split reeds or bamboo were usually 
spread for us to sit on. Our guides then told the men who 
might be there, who we were, whence we had come, whither 
we wanted to go, and what were our objects. This in- 
formation was duly carried to the Chief, who, if a sensible man, 
came at once ; but, if he happened to be timid and suspicious, 
waited until he had used divination, and his warriors had 
time to come in from outlying hamlets. When he makes his 
appearance, all the people begin to clap their hands in 
unison, and continue doing so till he sits down opposite to 
us. His counsellors take their places beside him. He makes 
a remark or two, and is then silent for a few seconds. Our 
guides then sit down in front of the chief and his counsellors, 
and both parties lean forward, looking earnestly at each other ; 



Chap. V. 

the Chief repeats a word such as " Ambuiatu " (bur Father, or 
master) — or " moio" (life), and all clap their hands. Another 
word is followed by two claps, a third by still more clapping, 
when each touches the ground with both hands placed 
together. Then all rise, and lean forward with measured 
clap, and sit down again with clap, clap, clap, fainter, and still 
fainter till the last dies away, or is brought to an end by a 
smart loud clap from the Chief. They keep perfect time in this 
species of court etiquette. Our guides now tell the Chief, often 
in blank verse, all they have already told his people, with the 
addition perhaps of their own suspicions of the visitors. He asks 
some questions, and then converses with us through the guides. 
Direct communication, between the chief and the head of the 
stranger party is not customary. In approaching they often 
ask who is the spokesman, and the spokesman of the Chief 
addresses the person indicated exclusively. There is no lack 
of punctilious good manners. The accustomed presents are 
exchanged, with civil ceremoniousness ; until our men, wearied 
and hungry, call out, "English do not buy slaves, they 
buy food,' , and then the people bring meal, maize, fowls, 
batatas, yams, beans, beer, for sale. 

The Manganja are an industrious race; and in addition 
to working in iron, cotton, and basket-making, they cultivate 
the soil extensively. All the people of a village turn out to 
labour in the fields. It is no uncommon thing to see men, 
women, and children hard at work, with the baby lying close by 
beneath a shady bush. When a new piece of woodland is to 
be cleared, they proceed exactly as farmers do in America. 
The trees are cut down with their little axes of soft native 
iron ; trunks and branches are piled up and burnt, and 
the ashes spread; on the soil. The corn is planted among 
the standing stumps which are left to rot. If grass land 

Chap. V. 



is to be brought under cultivation, as much tall grass as the 
labourer can conveniently lay bold of is collected together 
and tied into a knot. He then strikes his hoe round the tufts 
to sever the roots, and leaving all standing, proceeds until the 
whole ground assumes the appearance of a field covered 
with little shocks of corn in harvest. A short time before 
the rains begin, these grass shocks are collected in small 
heaps, covered with earth, and burnt, the ashes and 
burnt soil being used to fertilize the ground. Large crops 
of the mapira, or Egyptian dura (Holcus sorghum), are raised, 
with millet, beans, and ground-nuts ; also patches of 
yams, rice, pumpkins, cucumbers, cassava, sweet potatoes, 
tobacco, and hemp, or bang (Cannabis sativa). Maize is grown 
all the year round. Cotton is cultivated at almost every village. 
Three varieties of cotton have been found in the country, 
namely, two foreign, and one native. The tonje manga, or 
foreign cotton, the name showing that it has been introduced, 
is of excellent quality, and considered at Manchester to be 
nearly equal to the best New Orleans. It is perennial, but re- 
quires replanting once in three years. A considerable amount 
of this variety is grown in the Upper and Lower Shire Valleys. 
Every family of any importance owns a cotton patch which, 
from the entire absence of weeds, seemed to be carefully 
cultivated. Most were small, none seen on this journey 
exceeding half an acre ; but on the former trip some were 
observed of more than twice that size. 

The tonje cadja, or indigenous cotton, is of shorter staple, 
and feels in the hand like wool. This kind has to be 
planted every season, h# the highlands ; yet, because it 
makes stronger cloth, many of the people prefer it to the 
foreign cotton ; the third variety is not found here. It was 
remarked to a number of men near the Shire Lakelet, a 



Chap. V. 

little further on towards Nyassa, " You should plant plenty 
of cotton, and probably the English will come and buy 
it." " Truly," replied a far-travelled Babisa trader to his 
fellows, " the country is full of cotton, and if these people 
come to buy they will enrich us." Our own observation on 
the cotton cultivated convinced us that this was no empty 
flourish, but a fact. Everywhere we met with it, and scarcely 
ever entered a village, without finding a number of men 
cleaning, spinning, and weaving. It is first carefully separated 
from the seed by the fingers, or by an iron roller, on a little 
block of wood, and rove out into long soft bands without twist. 
Then it receives its first twist on the spindle, and becomes 

Native web, and Weaver smoking the huge tobacco-pipe of the country. 

about the thickness of coarse candlewick ; after being taken 
off and wound into a large ball, it is given the final hard twist, 
and spun into a firm cop on the spindle again : all the 
processes being painfully slow. 


Iron ore is dug out of the hills, and its manufacture is 
the staple trade of the southern highlands. Each village has 
its smelting-house, its charcoal-burners, and blacksmiths. 
They make good axes, spears, needles, arrow-heads, brace- 
lets and anklets, which, considering the entire absence of 
machinery, are sold at surprisingly low rates ; a hoe over two 
pounds in weight is exchanged for calico of about the value of 

fourpence. In villages near Lake Shirwa and elsewhere, the 
inhabitants enter pretty largely into the manufacture of 
erockery, or pottery, making by hand all sorts of cooking, 
water, and grain pots, which they ornament with plumbago 
found in the hills. Some find employment in weaving neat 
baskets from split bamboos, and others collect the fibre of the 
buaze, which grows abundantly on the hills, and make it into 
fish-nets. These they either use themselves, or exchange 
with the fishermen on the river or lakes for dried fish and 
salt. A great deal of native trade is carried on between 
the villages, by means of barter in tobacco, salt, dried fish, 



skins, and iron. Many of the men are intelligent-looking, 
with well-shaped heads, agreeable faces, and high foreheads. 
We soon learned to forget colour, and we frequently saw 
countenances resembling those of white people we had known 
in England, which brought back the looks of forgotten 
ones vividly before the mind. The men take a good deal 
of pride in the arrangement of their hair ; the varieties of 
style are endless. One trains his long locks till they take the 
admired form of the buffalo's horns; others prefer to let 
their hair hang in a thick coil down their backs, like that ani- 
mal's tail ; while another wears it in twisted cords, which, stif- 
fened by fillets of the inner bark of a tree wound spirally round 
each curl, radiate from the head in all directions. Some have 
it hanging all round the shoulders in large masses ; others 
shave it off altogether. Many shave part of it into ornamental 
figures, in which the fancy of the barber crops out conspicuously. 
About as many dandies run to seed among the blacks, as 
among the whites. The Manganja adorn their bodies 
extravagantly, wearing rings on their fingers and thumbs, 
besides throatlets, bracelets, and anklets of brass, copper, or 
iron. But the most wonderful of ornaments, if such it may 
be called, is the pelele, or upper-lip ring of the women. The 
middle of the upper lip of the girls is pierced close to the 
septum of the nose, and a small pin inserted to prevent the 
puncture closing up. After it has healed, the pin is taken 
out and a larger one is pressed into its place, and so on 
successively for weeks, and months, and years. The process 
of increasing the size of the lip goes^on till its capacity 
becomes so great that a ring of two inches diameter can 
be introduced with ease. All the highland women wear the 
pelele, and it is common on the Upper and Lower Shire. 
The poorer classes make them of hollow, or of solid bamboo, 

Chap. V. PELELE, OK LIP-KING. 115 

but the wealthier of ivory, or tin. The tin pelele is often made 
in the form of a small dish. The ivory one is not unlike 
a napkin-ring. No woman ever appears in public without 

Pelele, or Lip-ring of Manganja AVoman. 

the pelele, except in times of mourning for the dead. It 
is frightfully ugly to see the upper lip projecting two inches 
beyond the tip of the nose. When an old wearer of a 
hollow bamboo ring smiles, by the action of the muscles 
of the cheeks, the ring and lip outside it, are dragged back 
and thrown above the eyebrows. The nose is seen through 
the middle of the ring, and the exposed teeth show how 
carefully they have been chipped to look like those of a 
cat or crocodile. The pelele of an old lady, Chikanda 
Kadze, a Chieftainess, about twenty miles north of Mo- 

i 2 



Chap. V. 

rambala, hung down below her chin, with, of course, 
a piece of the upper lip around its border. The labial 
letters cannot be properly pronounced/ but the under 
lip has to do its best for them, against the upper teeth 
and gum. Tell them it makes them ugly ; they had 
better throw it away; they rej)ly, "Kodi! Keally! it 
is the fashion." How this hideous fashion originated is an 
enigma. Can thick lips ever have been thought beautiful, 
and this mode of artificial enlargement resorted to in con- 
sequence? The constant twiddling of the pelele with the 
tongue by the younger women suggested the irreverent 
idea that it might have been invented to give safe employ- 
ment to that little member. " Why do the women wear 
these things?" we inquired of the old Chief, Chinsunse. 
Evidently surprised at such a stupid question, he replied, 
" For beauty, to be sure ! Men have beards and whiskers ; 
women have none ; and what kind of creature would a woman 
be without whiskers, and without the pelele : She would 
have a mouth like a man, and no beard ; ha ! ha ! ha ! " 
Afterwards on the Kovuma, we found men wearing the 
pelele, as well as women. An idea suggested itself on 
seeing the effects of the slight but constant pressure ex- 
erted on the upper gum and front teeth, of which our 
medical brethren will judge the value. In many cases the 
upper front teeth, instead of the natural curve outwards, 
which the row presents, had been pressed so as to appear as 
if the line of alveoli in which they were planted had an 
inward curve. As this was produced by the slight pressure 
of the pelele backwards, persons with too prominent teeth 
might by slight, but long-continued pressure, by some appli- 
ance only as elastic as the lip, have the upper gum and teeth 
depressed, especially in youth, more easily than is usually 


imagined. The pressure should be applied to the upper gum 
more than to the teeth. 

The Manganja are not a sober people : they brew large 
quantities of beer, and like it well. Having no hops, or other 
means of checking fermentation, they are obliged to drink the 
whole brew in a few days, or it becomes unfit for use. Great 
merry-makings take place on these occasions, and drinking, 
drumming, and dancing continue day and night, till the beer 
is gone. In crossing the hills we sometimes found whole vil- 
lages enjoying this kind of mirth. The veteran traveller of the 
party remarked, that he had not seen so much drunkenness 
during all the sixteen years he had spent in Africa. As we 
entered a village one afternoon, not a man was to be seen ; 
but some women were drinking beer under a tree. In a few 
moments the native doctor, one of the innocents, " nobody s 
enemy but his own," staggered out of a hut, with his cupping- 
horn dangling from his neck, and began to scold us for a 
breach of etiquette. " Is this the way to come into a man's 
village, without sending him word that you are coming ?" 
Our men soon pacified the fuddled but good-humoured 
medico, who, entering his beer-cellar, called on two of 
them to help him to carry out a huge pot of beer, which 
he generously presented to us. While the " medical prac- 
titioner" was thus hospitably employed, the Chief awoke 
in a fright, and shouted to the women to run away, or 
they would all be killed. The ladies laughed at the idea 
of their being able to run away, and remained beside 
the beer-pots. We selected a spot for our camp, our men 
cooked the dinner as usual, and we were quietly eating it, 
when scores of armed men, streaming with perspiration, 
came pouring into the village. They looked at us, then 
at each other, and turning to the Chief upbraided him for 



Chap. V. 

so needlessly sending for them. " These people are peace- 
able ; they do not hurt you ; you are killed with beer : " 
so. saying, they returned to their homes. 

We remarked the different varieties of intoxication 
among these topers, the talkative, the boisterous, the 
silly, the stupid, and the pugnacious : the last, when the 
Chief, at the head of his men, placed himself in front, 
crying — " I stop this path, you must go back." He sprang 
aside, however, with more speed than dignity, when an 
angry Makololo made a lunge at him with the but of his 

Native beer has a pinkish colour, and the consistency 
of gruel. The grain is made to vegetate, dried in the 
sun, pounded into meal, and gently boiled. When only 
a day or two old, the beer is sweet, with a slight degree 
of acidity, which renders it a most grateful beverage in 
a hot climate, or when fever begets a sore craving for 
acid drinks. A single draught of it satisfies this craving 
at once. Only by deep and long-continued potations can 
intoxication be produced : the grain being in a minutely 
divided state, it is a good way of consuming it, and the decoc- 
tion is very nutritious. At Tette a measure of beer is exchanged 
for an equal-sized pot full of grain. A present of this beer, 
so refreshing to our dark comrades, was brought to us in 
nearly every village. Beer-drinking does not appear to 
produce any disease, or to shorten life, on the hills. Never 
before did we see so many old grey-headed men and women ; 
leaning on their staves they came with the others to see the 
white men. The aged Chief, Muata Manga, could hardly have 
been less than ninety years of age ; his venerable appearance 
struck the Makololo. " He is an old man," said they, " a very old 
man ; his skin hangs in wrinkles, just like that on elephants' 

Chap. V. 



hips." "Did you never," he was asked, "have a fit of travelling 
come over you ; a desire to see other lands and people ?" No, 
he had never felt that, and had ' never been far from home in 
his life. For long life they are not indebted to frequent 
ablutions. An old man told us that he remembered to have 
washed once in his life, but it was so long since that he 
had forgotten how it felt. "Why do you wash?" asked 
Chinsunse's women of the Makololo ; " our men never do." 

On the Upper Shire Valley, a man, after favouring us with 
some queer geographical remarks, followed us for several 
days. The Makololo became very much annoyed with him, 
for he proclaimed in every village we entered — " These people 
have wandered ; they do not know where they are going." 
In vain did they scold and order him away. As soon as we 
started, he appeared again in the line of march, with his 
little bag over his shoulder, containing all his worldly gear, 
and as ready with his uncalled-for remarks as before. Every 
effort failed to drive him away, until at length the happy 
expedient was hit on, of threatening to take him down to the 
river and wash him ; he at once made off, and we saw him no 
more. Much skin disease is seen among the Manganja. 
Many had ulcers on their limbs ; indeed, an indolent almost 
incurable ulcer is the worst complaint we saw. Some men 
appeared as if they had blotches of whitewash all over 
them, and some were afflicted with the leprosy of the Cape, 
Many fowls even have their feet deformed by a peculiar 
thickening of the skin. We noticed also some men marked 
with smallpox, and asked the Chief, Mongazi, if he knew 
whether it had come to them from the coast, or from the 
interior. Being, as usual, amiably tipsy and anxious to pay 
us a compliment, he graciously replied he did not know, but 
thought it must have come to them from the English. 



Chap. V. 

The superstitious ordeal, by drinking the poisonous 
muave, obtains credit here ; and when a person is suspected of 
crime, this ordeal is resorted to. If the stomach rejects the 
poison, the accused is pronounced innocent ; but if it is 
retained, guilt is believed to be demonstrated. Their faith is so 
firm in its discriminating power, that the supposed criminal 
offers of his own accord to drink it, and even Chiefs are not 
exempted. Chibisa, relying on its efficacy, drank it several 
times, in order to vindicate his character. When asserting that 
all his wars had been just, it was hinted that, as every Chief had 
the same tale of innocence to tell, we ought to suspend our judg- 
ment. * If you doubt my word," said he, " give me the muave 
to drink." A Chief at the foot of Mount Zomba successfullv 
went through the ordeal the day before we reached his village ; 
and his people manifested their joy at his deliverance by drink- 
ing beer, dancing, and drumming for two days and nights. It is 
possible that the native doctor, who mixes the ingredients 
of the poisoned bowl, may be able to save those whom he 
considers innocent; but it is difficult to get the natives to 
speak about the matter, and no one is willing to tell what 
the muave poison consists of. We have been shown trees 
said to be used, but had always reason to doubt the 
accuracy of our informants. We once found a tree in a 
village, with many pieces of the bark chipped off, closely 
allied to the Tangena or Tanghina, the ordeal poison tree of 
Madagascar ; but we could not ascertain any particulars about 
it. Death is inflicted on those found guilty of witchcraft, by 
the muave. 

The women wail for the dead two days. Seated on the 
ground they chant a few plaintive words, and end each verse 
with the prolonged sound of a — a, or o — o, or ea-ea-ea — a. 
Whatever beer is in the house of the deceased, is poured 

Chap. V. 



out on the ground with the meal, and all cooking and 
water pots are broken, as being of no further use. Both men 
and women wear signs of mourning for their dead relatives. 
These consist of narrow strips of the palm-leaf wound round 
the head, the arms, legs, neck, and breasts, and worn till 
they drop off from decay. They believe in the existence of a 
Supreme Being, called Mpambe, and also Morungo, and in a 
future state. " We live only a few days here," said old Chin- 
sunse, "but we live again after death : we do not know where, 
or in what condition, or with what companions, for the dead 
never return to tell us. Sometimes the dead do come back, 
and appear to us in dreams ; but they never speak nor tell us 
where they have gone, nor how they fare." 

Our path followed the Shire above the Cataracts, which is 
now a broad deep river, with but little current. It expands in 
one place into a lakelet, called Pamalombe, full of fine fish, and 
ten or twelve miles long by five or six in breadth. Its banks 
are low, and a dense wall of papyrus encircles it. On its western 
shore rises a range of hills running north. On reaching the 
village of the Chief Muana-Moesi, and about a day's march 
distant from JSTyassa, we were told that no lake had ever been 
heard of there ; that the River Shire stretched on as we saw 
it now to a distance of " two months," and then came out from 
between perpendicular rocks, which towered almost to the skies. 
Our men looked blank at this piece of news, and said, " Let 
us go back to the ship, it is of no use trying to find the 
lake." " We shall go and see those wonderful rocks at any 
rate," said the Doctor. " And when you see them," replied 
Masakasa, "you will just want to see something else." 
"But there is a lake," rejoined Masakasa, "for all their 
denying it, for it is down in a book." Masakasa, having 
unbounded faith in whatever was in a book, went and scolded 



Chap. V. 

the natives for telling him an untruth. " There is a lake," 
said he, *for how could the white men know about it in 
a book if it did not exist?" They then admitted that 
there was a lake a few miles off. Subsequent inquiries 
make it probable that the story of the "perpendicular 
rocks" may have had reference to a fissure, known to 
both natives and Arabs, in the north-eastern portion of the 
lake. The walls rise so high that the path along the bottom 
is said to be underground. It is probably a crack similar 
to that which made the Victoria Falls, and formed the Shire 

The Chief brought a small present of meal in the evening, 
and sat with us for a few minutes. On leaving us he said that 
he wished we might sleep well. Scarce had he gone, when a 
wild sad cry arose from the river, followed by the shrieking 
of women. A crocodile had carried off his principal wife, as 
she was bathing. The Makololo snatched up their arms, and 
rushed to the bank, but it was too late, she was gone. The 
wailing of the women continued all night, and next morning we 
met others coming to the village to join in the general mourn- 
ing. Their grief was evidently heartfelt, as we saw the tears 
coursing down their cheeks. In reporting this misfortune 
to his neighbours, Muana-Moesi said " that white men came to 
his village ; washed themselves at the place where his wife, 
drew water and bathed ; rubbed themselves with a white 
medicine (soap) ; and his wife, having gone to bathe after- 
wards, was taken by a crocodile ; he did not know whether 
in consequence of the medicine used or not." This we could 
not find fault with. On our return we were viewed with 
awe, and all the men fled at our approach; the women 
remained ; and this elicited the remark from our men, " The 
women have the advantage of men, in not needing to dread 

Chap. V. 



the spear." The practice of bathing, which our first contact 
with Chinsunse's people led us to believe was unknown to 
the natives, we afterwards found to be common in other parts 
of the Manganja country. 

We discovered Lake Nyassa a little before noon of the 16th 
September, 1859. Its southern end is in 14° 25' S. Lat., and 
35° 30' E. Long. At this point the valley is about twelve 
miles wide. There are hills on both sides of the lake, but 
the haze from burning grass prevented us at the time from 
seeing far. A long time after our return from Nyassa, we 
received a letter from Captain E. B. Oldfield, E.N., then 
Commanding H.M.S. Lyra, with the information that Dr. 
Koscher, an enterprising German who unfortunately lost 
his life in his zeal for exploration, had also reached the 
Lake, but on the 19 th of November following our discovery; 
and on his arrival had been informed by the natives that a 
party of white men were at the southern extremity. On 
comparing dates (16th September and 19th November) we 
were about two months before Dr. Koscher. Information, to 
the same effect as Captain Oldfield's, was also published in 
the Cape Newspapers in a letter to Sir George Grey, the 
Governor, from Colonel Kigby, H.M. Consul and Political 
Eesident at Zanzibar, who derived his information from the 
depositions of Dr. Koscher's servants, after they had reached 
the coast. 

It is not known where Dr. Koscher first saw its waters ; 
as the exact position of Nusseewa on the borders of the Lake, 
where he lived some time, is unknown. He was three days 
north-east of Nusseewa, and on the Arab road back to the usual 
crossing-place of the Kovuma, when he was murdered. The 
murderers were seized by one of the Chiefs, sent to Zanzibar, 
and executed. He is said to have kept his discoveries to 



Chap. V. 

himself, with the intention of publishing in Europe the whole 
at once, in a splendid book of travels. Hence we can only 
conjecture that as he travelled on the Arab route from 
Kilwa (Quiloa), he struck the lake at the Arab crossing-place 
Ngombo, adjacent to Tsenga, or possibly opposite Kotakota 
Bay.* The regular publication of our letters by the Eoyal 
Geographical Society we felt to be an inestimable benefit. 
It fixed the date of, and perpetuated every discovery. 

The Chief of the village near the confluence of the Lake 
and River Shire, an old man, called Mosauka, hearing that 
we were sitting under a tree, came and kindly invited us to his 
village. He took us to a magnificent banyan-tree, of which he 
seemed proud. The roots had been trained down to the ground 
into the form of a gigantic arm-chair, without the seat. Four 
of us slept in the space betwixt its arms. Mosauka brought 
us a present of a goat and basket of meal " to comfort our 
hearts." He told us that a large slave-party, led by Arabs, 
were encamped close by. They had been up to Cazembe's 
country the past year, and were on their way back, with plenty 
of slaves, ivory, and malachite. In a few minutes half a dozen 
of the leaders came over to see us. They were armed with 
long muskets, and, to our mind, were a villanous-looking lot. 
They evidently thought the same of us, for they offered 
several young children for sale, but, when told that we were 
English, showed signs of fear, and decamped during the night. 
On our return to the Kongone, we found that H.M.S. Lynx 
had caught some of these very slaves in a dhow ; for a woman 
told us she first saw us at Mosauka's, and that the Arabs had 
fled for fear of an uncanny sort of Basungu. 

This is one of the great slave-paths from the inte- 
rior, others cross the Shire a little below, and some on 

* See Appendix. 

Chap. V. 



the lake itself. We might have released these slaves, but 
did not know what to do with them afterwards. On 
meeting men, led in slave-sticks, the Doctor had to bear 

" Gorce," or Slave-stick. 

the reproaches of the Makololo, who never slave, " Ay, you 
call us bad, but are we yellow-hearted, like these fellows — 
why won't you let us choke them?" To liberate and leave 
them, would have done but little good, as the people of the 
surrounding villages would soon have seized them, and have 
sold them again into slavery. The Manganja Chiefs sell their 
own people, for we met Ajawa and slave-dealers in several 
highland villages, who had certainly been encouraged to come 
among them for slaves. The Chiefs always seemed ashamed 
of the traffic, and tried to excuse themselves. " We do not sell 
many, and only those who have committed crimes." As a rule 
the regular trade is supplied by the low and criminal classes, and 
hence the ugliness of slaves. Others are probably sold besides 
criminals, as on the accusation of witchcraft. Friendless 
orphans also sometimes disappear suddenly, and no one in- 
quires what has become of them. The temptation to sell their 
people is peculiarly great, as there is but little ivory on the 
hills, and often the Chief has nothing but human flesh, with 
which to buy foreign goods. The Ajawa offer cloth, brass 
rings, pottery, and sometimes handsome young women, and 
agree to take the trouble of carrying off by night all those 
whom the Chief may point out to them. They give four yards 
of cotton cloth for a man, three for a woman, and two for a 


boy or girl, to be taken to the Portuguese at Mosainbique, 
Iboe, and Quillimane. 

Another channel of supply, fed by victims from all classes, 
but chiefly from the common people, is frequently opened, 
when one portion of a tribe, urged on by the greed of 
gain, begins to steal and, sell their fellow-clansmen. The 
evil does not stop here. A feud is the consequence. The 
weaker part of the tribe is driven away, and wandering 
about, becomes so thoroughly demoralized, as to live by 
marauding and selling their captives, and even each other, 
without compunction. This was precisely the state of the 
portion of the Ajawa we first fell in with. 

The Manganja were more suspicious and less hospitable 
than the tribes on the Zambesi. They were slow to believe 
that our object in coming into their countiy was really what 
we professed it to be. They naturally judge us by the 
motives which govern themselves. A Chief in the Upper 
Shire Valley, whose scared looks led our men to christen him 
Kitlabolawa (I shall be killed), remarked that parties had 
come before, with as plausible a story as ours, and, after a 
few days, had jumped up and carried off a number of his people 
as slaves. We were not allowed to enter some of the villages 
in the valley, nor would the inhabitants even sell us food ; Zi- 
niika's men, for instance, stood at the entrance of the euphorbia 
hedge, and declared we should not pass in. We sat down under 
a tree close by. A young fellow made an angry oration, danc- 
ing from side to side with his bow and poisoned arrows, and 
gesticulating fiercely in our faces. He was stopped in the 
middle of his harangue by an old man, who ordered him to 
sit down, and not talk to strangers in that way ; he obeyed 
reluctantly, scowling defiance, and thrusting out his large lips 
very significantly. The women were observed leaving the 

Chap. V. 



village ; and, suspecting that mischief might ensue, we pro- 
ceeded on our journey, to the great disgust of our men. 
They were very angry with the natives for their want of 
hospitality to strangers, and with us, because we would not 
allow them to give " the things a thrashing." " This is what 
comes of going with white men," they growled out, " had 
we been with our own Chief, we should have eaten their 
goats to-night, and had some of themselves to carry the 
bundles for us to-morrow." On our return, by a path which 
left his village on our right, Zimika sent to apologise, saying 
that " he was ill, and in another village at the time ; it was 
not by his orders that we were sent away ; his men did not 
know that we were a party wishing the land to dwell in 

We were not able, when hastening back to the men 
left in the ship, to remain in the villages belonging to this 
Chief ; but the people came after us with things for sale, 
and invited us to stop, and spend the night with them, 
urging, " Are we to have it said that white people passed 
through our country and we did not see them ? " We rested 
by a rivulet to gratify these sight-seers. We appear to them 
to be red rather than white; and, though light colour is 
admired among themselves, our clothing renders us uncouth 
in aspect. Blue eyes appear savage, and a red beard 
hideous. From the numbers of aged persons we saw on 
the highlands, and the increase of mental and physical 
vigour we experienced on our ascent from the lowlands, we 
inferred that the climate was salubrious, and that our 
countrymen might there enjoy good health, and also be of 
signal benefit, by leading the multitude of industrious inha- 
bitants to cultivate cotton, buaze, sugar, and other valuable 
produce, to exchange for goods of European manufacture; 



CiiAr. V. 

at the same time teaching them, by precept and example, 
the great truths of our Holy Keligion. 

Our stay at the Lake was necessarily short. We had found 
that the best plan for allaying any suspicions, that might 
arise in the minds of a people accustomed only to slave- 
traders, was to pay a hasty visit, and then leave for a while, 
and allow the conviction to form among the people that, though 
our course of action was so different from that of others, we 
were not dangerous, but rather disposed to be friendly. We 
had also a party at the vessel, and any indiscretion on their 
part might have proved fatal to the character of the 

The trade of Cazembe and Katanga's country, and of other 
parts of the interior, crosses Nyassa and the Shire, on its 
way to the Arab port, Kilwa, and the Portuguese ports of 
Iboe and Mosambique. At present, slaves, ivory, malachite, 
and copper ornaments, are the only articles of commerce. 
According to information collected by Colonel Rigby at 
Zanzibar, and from other sources, nearly all the slaves shipped 
from the above-mentioned ports come from the Nyassa district. 
By means of a small steamer, purchasing the ivory of the 
Lake and River above the cataracts, which together have a 
shore-line of at least 600 miles, the slave-trade in this quarter 
would be rendered unprofitable, — for it is only by the ivory 
being carried by the slaves, that the latter do not eat up all the 
profits of a trip. An influence would be exerted over an enor- 
mous area of country, for the Mazitu about the north end of the 
Lake will not allow slave-traders to pass round that way through • 
their country. They would be most efficient allies to the Eng- 
lish, and might themselves be benefited by more intercourse. 
As things are now, the native traders in ivory and malachite 
have to submit to heavy exactions ; and if we could give 



them the same prices which they at present get after carrying 
their merchandise 300 miles beyond this to the Coast, it might 
induce them to return without going further. It is only by 
cutting off the supplies in the interior, that we can crush the 
slave-trade on the Coast. The plan proposed would stop 
the slave-trade from the Zambesi on one side and Kilwa on the 
other: and would leave, beyond this tract, only the Por- 
tuguese port of Inhambane on the south, and a portion of 
the Sultan of Zanzibar's dominion on the north, for our 
cruisers to look after. The Lake people grow abundance 
of cotton for their own consumption, and can sell it for a 
penny a pound, or even less. Water-carriage exists by the 
Shire and Zambesi all the way to England, with the single 
exception of a portage of about thirty-five miles past the 
Murchison Cataracts, along which a road of less than forty 
miles could be made at a trilling expense ; and it seems 
feasible that a legitimate and thriving trade might, in a 
short time, take the place of the present unlawful traffic. 

Colonel Rigby, Captains Wilson, Oldfield, and Chapman, 
and all the most intelligent officers on the Coast, were 
unanimous in the belief, that one small vessel on 
the Lake would have decidedly more influence, and 
do more good in suppressing the slave-trade, than half 
a dozen men-of-war on the ocean. By judicious operations, 
therefore, on a small scale inland, little expense would be 
incurred, and the English slave-trade policy on the East 
would have the same fair chance of success, as on the West 




Chai\ VL 


Return to vessel — Nearly poisoned by the juice of cassava — " Cassereep," or 
cassava sap, a perfect preservative of meat — Dr. Kirk takes direct route 
from Chibisa's to Tette — Great suffering in the journey — Magnetical 
observations by Charles Livingstone — Shire biscuit — Wheaten flour neces- 
sary for European stomachs — Season for sowing wheat — Off to Kongone 

— Two miles of elephants — Our generous friend Senhor Ferrao — Kongone 

— Beach vessel for repairs — Arrival of H.M.S. Lynx — Loss of mail — 
Leave for Tette Dec. 16th — Governor at Shupanga — His opinions and 
ours — Confessions of an old slave-dealer — Paul Mariano — Arrival at 
Tette, Feb. 2nd, 1860 — Fabulous silver-mine of Chicova — -Exactions of the 
Banyai submitted to by the Portuguese — Sumptuary laws — Portuguese 
of Tette — Wine or climate? — Funerals — Weddings — Coal and gold — 
Defer our departure for the interior — Down again to Kongone — Up 
stream 15th March — Secret canal used for slaving — Governor of Quilli- 
mane sent to discover Kongone — Mr. Sunley's attempt to begin lawful 
trade at river Angoxe — Major Sicard at Mazaro — Change of names — Its 
advantages — The "Asthmatic," very ill indeed — Mr. Rae goes home on 
duty — The Kwakwa river — "Comical creatures" — Mice — Hope for fat 
folk, or cockroaches as aids to Banting — Zulus come to lift their rents 
at Senna — Striped Senna pigs and fever — Fever plant — Reach Tette 25th 
April — Want of irrigation — One branch of Tette industry. 

After a land-journey of forty days, we returned to the ship 
on the 6th of October, 1859, in a somewhat exhausted con- 
dition, arising more from a sort of poisoning, than from the 
usual fatigue of travel. We had taken a little mulligatawney 
paste, for making soup, in case of want of time to cook other 
food. Late one afternoon, at the end of an unusually long 
march, we reached Mikena, near the base of Mount Njongone 
to the north of Zomba, and the cook was directed to use a 
couple of spoonfuls of the paste ; but, instead of doing so, 
he put in the whole potful. The soup tasted rather hot, 

Chap. VI. 



but we added boiled rice to it, and, being very hungry, 
partook freely of it; and, in consequence of the overdose, 
we were delayed several days in severe suffering, and some 
of the party did not recover till after our return to the ship. 
Our illness may partly have arisen from another cause. One 
kind of cassava (Jatropha maligna) is known to be, in its raw 
state, poisonous, but by boiling it carefully in two waters, 
which must be thrown off, the poison is extracted and the 
cassava rendered fit for food. The poisonous sort is easily 
known by raising a bit of the bark of the root, and putting 
the tongue to it. A bitter taste shows poison, but it is 
probable that even the sweet kind contains an injurious 
principle. The sap, which, like that of our potatoes, is 
injurious as an article of food, is used in the " Pepper-pot " 
of the West Indies, under the name of "Cassereep," as a 
perfect preservative of meat. This juice put into an earthen 
vessel with a little water and Chili pepper is said to keep meat ? 
that is immersed in it, good for a great length of time ; even 
for years. No iron or steel must touch the mixture, or it 
will become sour. This "Pepper-pot," of which we first heard 
from the late Archbishop Whately, is a most economical 
meat-safe in a hot climate ; any beef, mutton, pork, or fowl 
that may be left at dinner, if put into the mixture and a 
little fresh cassereep added, keeps perfectly, though otherwise 
the heat of the climate or flies would spoil it. Our cook, 
however, boiled the cassava root as he was in the habit of 
cooking meat, namely, by filling the pot with it, and then 
pouring in water, which he allowed to stand on the fire 
until it had become absorbed and boiled away. This method 
did not expel the poisonous properties of the root, or render 
it wholesome ; for, notwithstanding our systematic caution 
in purchasing only the harmless sort, we suffered daily 

k 2 


from its effects, and it was only just before the end of 
our trip, that this pernicious mode of boiling it was dis- 
covered by us. 

In ascending 3000 feet from the lowlands to the high- 
lands, or on reaching the low valley of the Shire from the 
higher grounds, the change of climate was very marked. 
The heat was oppressive below, the thermometer standing 
at from 84° to 103° in the shade ; and our spirits were as 
dull and languid, as they had been exhilarated on the 
heights in a temperature cooler by some 20°. The water 
of the river was sometimes 84° or higher, whilst that we 
had been drinking in the hill streams was only 65°. 

It was found necessary to send two of our number across 
from the Shire to Tette ; and Dr. Kirk, with guides from 
Chibisa, and accompanied by Mr. Eae, the engineer, ac- 
complished the journey. We had found the country to the 
north and east so very well watered, that no difficulty was 
anticipated in this respect in a march of less than a hundred 
miles ; but on this occasion our friends suffered severely. 
The little water to be had at this time of the year, by 
digging in the beds of dry watercourses, was so brackish as to 
increase thirst, some of the natives indeed were making salt 
from it ; and when at long intervals a less brackish supply 
was found, it was nauseous and muddy from the frequent 
visits of large game. ^The tsetse aboundedj The country 
was level, and large tracts of it covered with mopane forest, 
the leaves of which afford but scanty shade to the baked earth, 
so that scarcely any grass grows upon it. The sun was so 
hot, that the men frequently jumped from the path, in the 
vain hope of cooling, for a moment, their scorched feet 
under the almost shadeless bushes; and the native who 
carried the provision of salt pork got lost, and came into 

Chap. VI. 



Tette two clays after the rest of the party, with nothing but 
the fibre of the meat left, the fat, melted by the blazing sun, 
having all run clown his back. This path was soon made a 
highway for slaving parties by Captain Raposo, the Com- 
mandant. The journey nearly killed our two active young- 
friends ; and what the slaves must have since suffered on it, 
no one can conceive ; but slaving probably can never be con- 
ducted without enormous suffering and loss of life. 

A series of magnetical observations, for ascertaining the dip 
and declination of the needle, was made by Charles Living- 
stone at Dakanamoio Island, as others had been made before 
at Expedition Island and at Tette ; after which the ship 
left for the Kongone. All our provisions had been expended, 
except tea and salt pork ; but fowls, beans, and mapira 
meal could be purchased from the natives. This meal does 
not, however, agree with the European stomach ; and wheat en 
flour, in some form or other, is indispensable to the white 
man's health in Africa. Our ingenious first or leading stoker, 
Rowe, prepared mapira meal in many ways ; at first he simply 
baked it pure, then tried a little pork gravy with it ; next 
he mixed bananas, and finally bananas and cloves ; but in 
whatever form the frightful Shire biscuit was baked, the 
same inevitable result ensued, gnawing heartburn throughout 
the entire process of digestion. It would therefore be ad- 
visable for missionaries and traders to secure a constant 
supply of wheat ; and that could as easily be done by them 
as by the Portuguese, if only the proper season were selected 
for sowing it. April and May, the beginning of the cold 
weather, are the months in which no rain need be expected 
to fall j and irrigation must be resorted to, as at the Cape, 
for which there are abundant facilities. If wheat is sown 
in the rainy season, the crop runs all to stalk. Men of 



Chap. VI. 

energy would never be dependent on any other country for 
their food in this. 

Mankokwe now sent a message 1 to say that he wished us 
to stop at his village on our way down. He came on board 
on our arrival there with a handsome present, and said that 
his young people had dissuaded him from visiting us before ; 
but now he was determined to see what every one else was 
seeing. A bald square-headedjnan, who had been his Prime 
Minister when we came up, was now out of office, and another 
old man, who had taken his place, accompanied the Chief. 
In passing the Elephant Marsh, we saw nine large herds 
of elephants; they sometimes formed a line two miles 
long. On the 26th of October a heavy thunderstorm came 
on, and some large hailstones fell, to the surprise of our 
Senna men, who had never seen heavy hail before, though 
it is not at all unusual for it to fall further inland. A 
shower fell at Kuruman which killed kids, fowls, and ante- 
lopes ; another at Kolobeng was destructive to the glass of 
the mission-house windows. 

On the 2nd of November we anchored off Shamoara, 
and sent the boat to Senna for biscuit and other provisions. 
Senhor Ferrao, with his wonted generosity, gave us a present 
of a bullock, which he sent to us in a canoe. Wishing to know 
if a second bullock would be acceptable to us, he consulted 
his Portuguese and English dictionary, and asked the sailor 
in charge if he would take another; but Jack, mistaking the 
Portuguese pronunciation of the letter h, replied, "Oh no, 
sir. thank you, I don't want an otter in the boat, they are 
such terrible biters ! " 

"We had to ground the vessel on a shallow sandbank every 
night ; she leaked so fast, that in deep water she would have 
sunk, and the pump had to be worked all day to keep her 

Chap. VI. 



afloat. Heavy rains fell daily, producing the usual injurious 
effects in the cabin ; and unable to wait any longer for our 
associates, who had gone overland from the Shire to Tette, 
we ran down to the Kongone and beached her for repairs. 
Her Majesty's ship Lynx, Lieut. Berkeley commanding, 
called shortly afterwards with supplies ; the bar, which 
had been perfectly smooth for some time before, became 
rather rough just before her arrival, so that it was two or 
three days before she could communicate with us. Two of her 
boats tried to come in on the second day, and one of them, 
mistaking the passage, capsized in the heavy breakers abreast 
of the island. Mr. Hunt, gunner, the officer in charge of the 
second boat, behaved nobly, and by his skilful and gallant 
conduct succeeded in rescuing every one of the first boat's 
crew. Of course the things that they were bringing to us 
were lost, but we were thankful that all the men were saved. 
The loss of the mail-bags, containing Government despatches 
and our friends' letters for the past year, was felt severely, 
as we were on the point of starting on an expedition into 
the interior, which might require eight or nine months ; 
and twenty months is a weary time to be without news of 
friends and family. In the repairing of our crazy craft, we 
received kind and efficient aid from Lieutenant Berkeley, 
and we were enabled to leave for Tette on December 16th. 

On our way up, we met the Governor of Quillimane 
coming down in a boat. He said that he was ordered by 
the Lisbon Government to select, after personal investiga- 
tion, the best port for ships to enter, and the best landing- 
place for goods. We gave him directions how to find 
Kongone. He added that he was confident that the Portu- 
guese of his own district knew of a mouth from which they 
exported slaves, but they would not tell him where it was, 



CiiAr. VL 

and it was on this account lie applied to us. His Excellency 
next morning unfortunately caught fever, and returned 
before he reached the river's mouth. A Portuguese naval 
officer was subsequently sent by his Government to examine 
the different entrances. He looked only, and then made a 
report, in which our published soundings were used without 
acknowledgment. His own countrymen smiled at the silly 
vanity exhibited by their Government in thus seeking in- 
formation, and all the while pretending to antecedent know- 
ledge. When opposite Expedition Island, the furnace bridge 
of our steamer broke down, as it had often done before. 
Luckily it occurred at a good place for game, so we got 
buffalo beef and venison whilst it was undergoing repair. 

On the 31st December, 1859, we reached Shupanga, 
where we had to remain eight days, awaiting the arrival 
of cotton cloth from Quillimane. Grey calico or sheet- 
ing is the usual currency of Eastern Africa, and this 
supply was to serve as money during our expedition into 
the interior. The governor and his two handsome grown-up 
daughters were staying in the Shupanga-house. It is seldom 
that the Portuguese show any repugnance to being served by 
blacks, but he preferred to be waited on by his daughters, 
and they performed their duty with graceful ease. This was 
the more agreeable to us, inasmuch as one rarely meets the 
Portuguese ladies at table in this country. His Excellency, 
talking in no way confidentially, but quite openly, — indeed 
it is here the common mode of speaking of lamentable truths 
— said, that the Portuguese in this country were a miserable 
lot, quite debased by debauchery, and with no enterprise 
whatever. A few of the large slaveholders, had they any 
vigour left, might each send fifty or a hundred slaves to 
the Cape, Mauritius, and England, to learn sugar-making 

Chat. VI. 



and trades ; after which they could manufacture their own 
cloth from cotton grown on the spot ; and make their own 
sugar too, instead of importing it from abroad : he saw 
no reason even why they should not ere long have a railroad 
across the continent to Angola ! 

His Excellency's remarks exhibit a failing often noticed 
among the Portuguese, and resembling that of certain of our 
countrymen, who take a foolish pride in deriding everything^ 
English. If we may judge by our own impressions, strangers 
would either regret to hear a man, as we often have, wind- 
ing up a tirade with the climax " I am horribly ashamed 
that I was born a Portuguese ; " or would despise him. His 
observations also showed the magnificent ideas that are 
entertained, to the entire neglect of plain matter-of-fact 
business and industry. Indigo six feet high was growing 
self-sown in abundance at our feet ; superior cotton was 
found about a mile off, which had propagated itself in 
spite of being burned off annually for many years ; and 
sugar-cane is said to be easily cultivated on the greater 
part of the Zambesi delta ; but, instead of taking the 
benefit, in a common-sense way, of these obvious advan- 
tages, our friends, while indulging in magnificent dreams of 
a second East India Company, to be established by English 
capitalists in Eastern Africa, were all the while diligently 
exporting the labour to the Island of Bourbon. The pro- 
gramme of this English Company, carefully drawn out by a 
Minister of the Crown at Lisbon, provides with commend- 
able stringency for the erection of schools and bridges, the 
making of roads, and deepening of harbours, in this land 
* of "Prester John," all to be delivered back to the Portu- 
guese at the lapse of twenty years ! 

His Excellency adverted to the notorious fact, that the 


Home GoTernnient of Portugal had to uphold the Settlements 
in Eastern Africa at an annual loss of £5000, while little or 
no trade went thence to Lisbon, and no Portuguese ever 
made a fortune and retired to spend it at home. It is indeed 
matter of intense regret, that statesmen, known by the laws 
they have enacted to be enlightened men, should be the 
means of perpetuating so much misery in this slave-making 
country, by keeping out other nations, with a pretence to 
dominion where they have absolutely no power for good. 
Is it not paying too dearly for a mere swagger in Europe, to 
have to bear the odium of united Christendom, as the 
first to begin the modern ocean slave-trade, and the last to 
abandon it ? 

A worn out slave-trader, sadly diseased, and nearly blind, 
used to relate to us in a frank and open manner the 
moving incidents of his past career. It was evident that 
he did not see slaveiy in the same light as we did. His 
countrymen all knew that the plea of humanity was the 
best for exciting his liberality, and he was certainly most 
generous and obliging to us. On expressing our surprise 
that so humane a man could have been guilty of so much 
cruelty, as the exportation of slaves entailed, he indig- 
nantly denied that he had ever torn slaves away from 
their homes. He had exported " brutos do mato" beasts of 
the field, alone, that is, natives still wild, or lately caught in 
forays. This way of viewing the matter made him gravely tell 
us, that when his wife died, to dull the edge of his grief he 
made a foray amongst the tribes near the mouth of the Shire, 
and took many captives. He had commenced slave-trading 
at Angola and made several fortunes; but somehow managed 
to dissipate them all in riotous living in a short time at Eio 
de J aneiro, — " The money a man makes in the slave-trade," 

Chap. VI. 



said he, " is all bad, and soon goes back to the devil." Some 
twelve years since, he embarked with a lot of ivory from 
Quillimane, and the vessel was seized as a slaver and carried 
to the Cape. Other ships of his had been captured by our 
cruisers, and he had nothing to say against that, it was all 
right and fair, for they were actually employed in the slave- 
trade. But it was wrong, he thought, for the English to take 
this vessel, as she was then on a lawful voyage. The English 
officers had thought so too, and wished to restore it to 
him, and would have done so, for they were gentlemen, but 
a rascally countryman of his own at the Cape opposed thein, 
and his vessel was condemned. Many years afterwards a 
naval officer, who had been in the cruiser that took his ship, 
accompanied us up the river, and, recognising our friend, at 
once informed him that the British Government, having sub- 
sequently ascertained that the capture of his vessel was 
illegal, had paid to the Portuguese Government the full value 
of both ship and cargo. 

Senhor Vianna, a settler, had just purchased a farm of 
three miles square, one side of which was the battle-field of 
Mazaro ; and for this he was to pay nine hundred dollars, or 
£180, in three years. He also rented from the Government 
forty miles of Mariano's estate, situated on the Shire and 
Zambesi. Mr. Azevedo rented for many years eighty miles 
of the land on the Eastern side of Mazaro. The rental of a 
few hundred dollars is made up by the colonos or serfs paying 
him who farms the land a bag or two of grain annually, 
and performing certain services somewhat as was done in our 
" cottar " system. The Landeens or Zulus on the opposite or 
southern bank had come down for their tribute, but Vianna 
sent a small present, and begged them not to press for it until 
the Governor had gone. Meanwhile sending all his goods to 



Chap. VI. 

the opposite side, he shortly after left with the Governor, the 
Zulus being unpaid. The chief object in paying the Zulu tax 
is to obtain permission to cut the gigantic Gunda trees, some 
twenty miles inland, for the construction of the large " coches" 
or canoes that are used on the Zambesi. He had, by felling 
the timber, secured canoes enough from the estate to last 
ten years, and trusted that, long ere that time had expired, 
his sort of moonlight flitting would be forgotten. He com- 
plained bitterly, notwithstanding, of the want of respect shown 
by these natives to the Governor and himself. 

Whilst we were at Shupanga, Paul Mariano was carried 
past, on his way to Senna, a prisoner in a canoe. He had 
been accused of murdering a few poor blade fellows, one of 
whom was a carpenter, belonging to the well-known Senhor 
Azevedo. An officer and some soldiers made a descent on 
Mariano by night, and took him prisoner. His sister came 
to the Governor and asked him outright, before a number of 
gentlemen, how much money he required to let her brother 
go free. His Excellency, of course, was very much shocked 
at her audacity, and indignantly reprimanded her ; but, 
singularly enough, within a few days Paul made his escape, 
and returned to his island, where he has ever since remained 
undisturbed. Before we knew where he had gone, a gen- 
tleman, well acquainted with the ways of the country, was 
asked whither he imagined Paul had fled. " Bah ! (qual !) " 
said he, " to his own house to be sure ; " and thither he had 

We Lad now frequent rains, and the river rose considerably ; 
our progress up the stream was distressingly slow, and it was 
not until the 2nd of February, 1860, that we reached Tette. 
Mr. Thornton returned on the same day from a geological tour, 
by which some Portuguese expected that a fabulous silver- 

Chap. VI. 



mine would be rediscovered. The tradition in the country is, 
that the Jesuits formerly knew and worked a precious lode 
at Chicova. Mr. Thornton had gone beyond Zumbo, in com- 
pany with a trader of colour ; he soon after this left the 
Zambesi, and, joining the expedition of the Baron van der 
Decken, explored the snow mountain Kilimanjaro, north-west 
of Zanzibar. Mr. Thornton's companion, the trader, brought 
back much ivory, having found it both abundant and cheap. 
He was obliged, however, to pay heavy fines to the Banyai and 
other tribes, in the country which is coolly claimed in Europe 
as Portuguese. During this trip of six months 200 pieces of 
cotton cloth of sixteen yards each, besides beads and brass 
wire, were paid to the different Chiefs, for leave to pass through 
their country. In addition to these sufficiently weighty exac- 
tions, the natives of this dominion have got into the habit 
of imposing fines for alleged milandos, or crimes, which the 
trader's men may have unwittingly committed. The mer- 
chants, however, submit rather than run the risk of fighting. 
The ivory is cheap enough to admit of the payment. 
Each merchant of Tette is said tc be obliged to pay for 
the maintenance of a certain number of the soldiers in 
the garrison ; and he who had just returned from the 
interior had to support five, although no services were 
rendered to him. The usual way of bringing the ivory 
down is by canoes from Zumbo to Chicova ; there the canoes 
are left and land carriage takes their place past Kebrabasa. 
This trader hired the Banyai to carry the ivory past the rapids. 
They agreed to do so for three yards of cloth each a trip, but 
threw down their loads on the path repeatedly, demanding 
more and more until they raised their claims to ten yards. " I 
could have fought and beaten them all with my own men," said 
the trader, " but on reaching Tette the Governor would have 



fined me for disturbing the peace of the country. The Banyai 
would have robbed those of my party behind, of the ivory, and 
all the redress to be obtained from our authorities would have 
been the mortification of knowing, that, on hearing my com- 
plaint they had sent up to the Banyai to purchase my ivory 
at a cheap rate for themselves." 

The senior officer, since deceased, was Acting Commandant 
of the fort at Tette, and was a rare specimen of a Governor. 
Soon after he came into power he passed a sumptuary law 
defining the market prices of native produce. Owing to the 
desolating wars of former years, the cost of provisions was 
nearly three times as much as in bygone days ; so his Excel- 
lency determined to reduce prices to their former standard, 
and proclaimed that in future twenty-four fowls instead 
of eight were to be sold for two yards of calico, and that 
the prices of sheep, goats, and oil should be reduced in like 
proportion. The first native who came to market refused 
to sell his fowls at Government prices, and was at once 
hauled up before the irate Commandant, and, for contumacy 
to this new re-enactment of old laws, condemned to be 
marched up and down the street all day, with his cackling 
merchandise hung round his neck, and then sent to prison to 
pass the night. Another poor fellow brought a pot of ground- 
nut-oil for sale, and was condemned to drink of it largely, for 


refusing to sell it at the legal rate. The only difficulty that 
this gentleman met with in carrying out his reforms arose 
from the natives declining to come with their produce until 
the laws were repealed. 

As there is a pretty high tariff on all imported wines and 
spirits, Tette for a mere village must yield a respectably 
large revenue. The climate is usually blamed for every- 
thing ; thus the merchants, being of a social turn, have night 

Chap. VI. 



parties in each other's houses. During these meetings, the 
curious debilitating effects of the climate may be witnessed. 
In the course of an hour a number of the members be- 
come too feeble to sit in their chairs, and slip unconsciously 
under the table; while others, who have been standing 
up loudly singing or talking, fall into one another's arms, 
swearing eternal friendship, but gradually losing con- 
trol both of tongue and limb. Slaves sit at the door, who, 
understanding these symptoms, enter and bear their weak 
and prostrate masters home. We should not hesitate to 
ascribe these symptoms to inebriety, if intoxication was not 
described here by the phrase "he speaks English," that is, 
" he's drunk ;" so that any such charge would have the ap- 
pearance of a tu quoque. The shocking prevalence of intem- 
perance and other vices among the Portuguese at Tette made 
us wonder, not that they had fever, but that they were not 
all swept off together. Their habits would be fatal in 
any climate ; the natives marvelled even more than we did ; 
our Makololo, for instance, looked on aghast at these con- 
vivial parties, and Sininyane described one in a way that 
might have done the actors good. "A Portuguese stands 
up," said he, " and cries * Viva ! ' that means, I am pleased ; 
another says, ' Viva ! ' I am pleased too ; and then they all 
shout out ' Viva ! ' We are all pleased together ; they are so 
glad just to get a little beer." One night he saw three 
inebriated officers in the midst of their enjoyment, quarrel- 
ling about a false report ; one jumped on his superior and 
tried to bite him ; and, whilst these two were rolling on the 
floor, the third caught up a chair and therewith pounded 
them both. Sininyane, horrified at such conduct, exclaimed, 
" What kind of people can these whites be, who treat even 
their chiefs in this manner ? " 



Chap. YT. 

The general monotony of existence at Tette is sometimes 
relieved by an occasional death or wedding. When the 
deceased is a person of consequence, the quantity of gun- 
powder his slaves are allowed to expend is enormous. The 
expense may, in proportion to their means, resemble that 
incurred by foolishly gaudy funerals in England. When at 
Tette, we always joined with sympathizing hearts in aiding, 
by our presence at the last rites, to soothe the sorrows of the 
surviving relatives. We are sure that they would have done 
the same to us, had we been the mourners. We never had to 
complain of want of hospitality. Indeed the great kind- 
ness shown by many, of whom we have often spoken, will never 
be effaced from our memory till our dying day. When we speak 
of their failings it is in sorrow, not in anger. Their trading 
in slaves is an enormous mistake. Their Government places 
them in a false position by cutting them off from the rest of 
the world ; and of this they always speak with a bitterness 
which, were it heard, might alter the tone of the statesmen of 
Lisbon. But here there is no press, no booksellers' shops, 
and scarcely a schoolmaster. Had we been born in similar 
untoward circumstances — we tremble to think of it ! 

The weddings are celebrated with as much jollity as wed- 
dings are anywhere. We witnessed one in the house of our 
friend the Padre. It being the marriage of his god-daughter, 
he kindly invited us to be partakers in his joy ; and we there 
became acquainted with old Donna Eugenia, who was a 
married wife and had children, when the slaves came from 
Cassange, before any of us were bora. The whole merry- 
making was marked by good taste and propriety. 

Another marriage brought out a feature in the Catholic 
church, akin, we believe, to a custom in Scotland, which com- 
mended itself to us as right. Our friend Captain Terrazao was 



Chap. VI. 



about to be married to a young lady of no less illustrious 
a name than Victoria Alexandrina, the daughter of one of the 
richest merchants of Tette. But her mother had been living 
only in a state of concubinage ; and, to legitimatize the chil- 
dren, the marriage of the parents was first celebrated, and then 
Terrazao received his bride, and another gentleman her sister 
on the same day. With our laws it seems to be a pity that 
those who have the misfortune to be born out of wedlock 
should be condemned, for no sin of their own, to bear the 
stain through life. 

In the wedding processions, the brides and bridegrooms are 
carried in hammocks slung to poles, called machillas. The 
female slaves, dressed in all their finery, rejoice in the happi- 
ness of their masters and mistresses. The males carry the 
machillas, or show their gladness by discharging their 
muskets. The friends of the young couple form part of the 
procession behind the machillas, dressed usually in black 
dress-coats and tall chimney-pot hats, which to us outlandish 
spectators look more hideous now than they ever did at 
home. The women, as seen in the woodcut, stand admiring, 
their neighbour's finery, balancing their water-pots grace- 
fully on their heads; while all the invited guests pro- 
ceed to wash down the dust, raised by the crowd, in copious- 
potations, followed by feasting, dancing, and joyous merry- 

About the only interesting object in the vicinity of Tette is. 
the coal a few miles to the north. There, in the feeders of 
the stream Eevubue, it crops out in cliff sections. The seams, 
are from four to seven feet in thickness ; one measured was 
found to be twenty-five feet thick. That on the surface 
contains much shale, but, a shaft having been run in horizon- 
tally for some twenty-five or thirty feet, the quality improved,, 



and it gave good steam. The imbedded roots of plants showed 
it to be of old formation. It lies under a coarse grey sandstone, 
which often has the ripple mark, and impressions of plants and 
silicified wood on its surface. Gold also is found in many of 
the streams on the south of Tette ; but so long as slavery 
maintains its sway, the coal and gold will be kept unworked, 
and safe for future generations. 

Learning that it would be difficult for our party to obtain 
food beyond Kebrabasa before the new crop came in, and 
knowing the difficulty of hunting for so many men in the 
wet season, we decided on deferring our departure for the 
interior until May, and in the mean time to run down once 
more to the Kongone, in the hopes of receiving letters and de- 
spatches from the man-of-war that was to call in March. We 
left Tette on the 10th, and at Senna heard that our lost mail 
had been picked up on the beach by natives, west of the 
Milambe ; carried to Quillimane ; sent thence to Senna ; 
and, passing us somewhere on the river, on to Tette. At 
Shupanga the Governor informed us that it was a very large 
mail ; no great comfort, seeing it was away up the river. 

Mosquitoes were excessively troublesome at the harbour, 
and especially when a light breeze blew from the north over 
the mangroves. We lived for several weeks in small huts, 
built by our men. Those who did the hunting for the party 
always got wet, and were attacked by fever, but generally 
recovered in time to be out again before the meat was all 
consumed. No ship appearing, we started off on the 15th of 
March, and stopped to wood on the Luabo, near an encamp- 
ment of hippopotamus hunters ; our men heard again, through 
them, of the canoe path from this place to Quillimane, but 
they declined to point it out. The Governor of Quillimane 
had already complained that the Portuguese of his district 

Chap. VL 



keep it secret for slaving purposes, and refused to show it, even 
to him. Masakasa felt confident that he could get it out of 
these hunters by his diplomacy, and said that a soft tongue 
would eat them up, whilst a hard one would drive them 
off; but they all left during the night. We subsequently 
ascertained that the entrance to it is by a natural opening 
called Kushishone, between two and three miles above the 
Kongone canal, but on the opposite bank of the Zambesi. 
It is however of no importance, as it is at times capable of 
passing only small canoes. 

The Portuguese Government in Lisbon have since striven 
with amusing earnestness to prove that these parts were 
long ago well known to them. To the rest of the world 
this is a matter of perfect indifference. We had to discover, 
or at least to rediscover, them for ourselves ; and consider- 
ing the perfect knowledge possessed by that ministry, it is 
odd that none of their information accompanied the orders 
to the officials in Africa. The Governor of Quillimane had 
orders to examine the Kongone, but frankly confessed he did 
not know where that harbour lay. Our friend Major Sicard, 
after receiving the assurance from us that no Zulus could 
cross the creeks around it, with sly foresight resolved to 
gain possession of a large slice of the soil for himself, and 
sent slaves to make a garden, and build him a house at 
Kongone, which gives the harbour its value. They exe- 
cuted their orders at a point some twenty miles off ; not 
knowing that we had taken the name from the side of the 
natural canal between the Kongone branch and the Zam- 
besi. We could see plainly, that we and our Portuguese 
friends Had different ranges of vision. We looked for the 
large result of benefit to all, both white and black, by 
•establishing free commercial intercourse. They could see 

L 2 


Chap. VL 

nothing beyond our inducing English merchants to establish 
a company, of which the Portuguese would, by fictitious 
claims, reap all the benefit. The short-sighted " dog in the 
manger" policy was so transparent that we always warned 
our commercial friends in England that, without free naviga- 
tion of the Zambesi, it was in vain for them to run any risk. 
Nothing but slaving will on any account be tolerated. W. 
Sunley, Esq., of Johanna, on the recommendation of the late 
Admiral Wyvil, took a cargo of goods to the Eiver Angonsh, 
or Angoxe, in order to begin a legal traffic with the natives. 
He succeeded as well as he expected. He was then inveigled 
on false pretences, by two Portuguese officials, to Mosambique ; 
and, as soon as he came under the guns of the fort, he was 
declared a prisoner, and his cargo and ship confiscated, for 
"illegal traffic in Portuguese territory." Had he been a 
slaver, without doubt, a little head-money would have secured 
him lodging and a feast in the Governor-Guneral's palace 

We found our friend Major Sicard at Mazaro with picks, 
shovels, hurdles, and slaves, having come to build a fort and 
custom-house at the Kongone. As we had no good reason to 
hide the harbour, but many for its being made known, we sup- 
plied him with a chart of the tortuous branches, which, running 
among the mangroves, perplex the search; and with such 
directions as would enable him to find his way down to the 
river. He had brought the relics of our fugitive mail, and it 
was a disappointment to find that all had been lost, with the 
exception of a bundle of old newspapers, two photographs, and 
three letters which had been written before we left England. 

Sininyane had exchanged names with a Zulu at Shupanga, 
and on being called next morning made no answer ; to a 
second and third summons he paid no attention; but at 

Chap. VI. 



length one of his men replied, " He is not Sininyane now, he 
is Moshoshoma ;" and to this name he answered promptly. 
The custom of exchanging names with men of other tribes, 
is not uncommon ; and the exchangers regard themselves as 
close comrades, owing special duties to each other ever after. 
Should one by chance visit his comrade's town, lie expects to 
receive food, lodging, and other friendly offices from him. 
While Charles Livingstone was at Kebrabasa during the 
rainy season, a hungry, shivering native traveller was made 
a comrade for life, not by exchanging names, but by some 
food and a small piece of cloth. Eighteen months after, 
while on our journey into the interior, a man came into 
our camp, bringing a liberal present of rice, meal, beer, 
and a fowl, and reminding us of what had been done for 
him (which Charles Livingstone had entirely forgotten), said 
that now seeing us travelling he "did not like us to sleep 
hungry or thirsty." Several of our men, like some people 
at home, dropped their own names and adopted those of 
the Chiefs ; others were a little in advance of those who 
take the surnames of higher people, for they took those of 
the mountains, or cataracts we had seen on our travels. 
We had a Chibisa, a Morambala, a Zomba, and a Kebrabasa, 
and they were called by these names even after they had 
returned to their own country. 

We had been so much hindered and annoyed by the " Ma 
Eobert," alias " Asthmatic," that the reader, though a tithe 
is not mentioned, may think we have said more than enough. 
The man, who had been the chief means of imposing this 
wretched craft on us, had passed away, and with him all 
bitterness from our hearts. We felt it to be a sad pity, 
however, that any one, for unfair gain, should do deeds 
which cannot be spoken of after he is gone. We had still 


our much-esteemed and noble-hearted friend, the late Ad- 
miral Washington, at home to see that we did not again 
suffer ; but the prospect of effecting a grand work on Lake 
Nyassa, by means of a steamer, made to be unscrewed and 
carried past the cataracts, was so fair, — indeed it promised, if 
carried out, so entirely to change the wretched system, which 
has been the bane of the country for ages, — that to have 
the vessel properly constructed we sent Mr. Eae, the engineer, 
home to superintend its construction. He could be of no 
further use in the "Asthmatic," as she was utterly beyond 
cure. We sent also five boxes of specimens, carefully col- 
lected and prepared by Dr. Kirk ; four of them, to our very 
great sorrow and loss, never arrived at the Gardens at 
Kew. We all accompanied our engineer on foot to a 
small stream that runs into the Kwakwa, or river of Quil- 
limane, on his way to that port to embark for England. 

The distance from Mazaro, on the Zambesi side, to 
the Kwakwa at Nterra, is about six miles, over a sur- 
prisingly rich dark soil. We passed the night in the 
long shed, erected at Nterra, on the banks of this river, for 
the use of travellers, who have often to wait several days 
for canoes; we tried to sleep, but the mosquitoes and rats 
were so troublesome as to render sleep impossible. The 
rats, or rather large mice, closely resembling Mus pumilio 
(Smith), of this region, are quite facetious, and, having a great 
deal of fun in them, often laugh heartily. Again and again 
they woke us up by scampering over our faces, and then 
bursting into a loud laugh of He! he! he! at having per- 
formed the feat. Their sense of the ludicrous appears to 
be exquisite ; they screamed with laughter at the attempts, 
Ayhich disturbed and angry human nature made in the dark 
to bring their ill-timed merriment to a close. Unlike their 



prudent European cousins, which are said to leave a sinking 
ship, a party of these took up their quarters in our leaky 
and sinking vessel. Quiet and invisible by day, they emerged 
at night, and cut their funny pranks. No sooner were we all 
asleep, than they made a sudden clash over the lockers and 
across our faces for the cabin door, where all broke out into 
a loud He ! he ! he ! he ! he ! he ! showing how keenly they 
enjoyed the joke. They next went forward with as much 
delight, and scampered over the men. Every night they went 
fore and aft, rousing with impartial feet every sleeper, and 
laughing to scorn the aimless blows, growls, and deadly rushes 
of outraged humanity. We observed elsewhere, a sjDecies of 
large mouse, nearly allied to Euryotis unisulcatus (F. Cuvier), 
escaping up a rough and not very upright wall, with six young 
ones firmly attached to the perineum. They were old enough 
to be well covered with hah", and some were not detached by 
a blow which disabled the dam. We could not decide whether 
any involuntary muscles were brought into play, in helping 
the young to adhere. Their weight seemed to require a sort 
of cataleptic state of the muscles of the jaw, to enable them 
to hold on. 

Scorpions, centipedes, and poisonous spiders also, were not 
unfrequently brought into the ship with the wood, and oc- 
casionally found their way into our beds; but, in every 
instance, we were fortunate enough to discover and destroy 
them, before they did any harm. Naval officers on this coast 
report, that when scorpions and centipedes remain a few 
weeks after being taken on board in a similar manner, their 
poison loses nearly all its virulence, but this we did not verify. 
Snakes sometimes came in with the wood, but oftener floated 
down the river to us, climbing on board with ease by the 
cnain-cable, and some poisonous ones were caught in the 


cabin. A green snake lived with us several weeks, con- 
cealing himself behind the casing of the deckhouse in the 
daytime. To be aroused in the dark by five feet of cold 
green snake gliding over one's face, is rather unpleasant, 
however rapid the movement may be. Myriads of two 
varieties of cockroaches infested the vessel; they not only 
.■ate round the roots of our nails, but even devoured and 
'defiled our food, flannels, and boots ; vain were all our 
efforts to extirpate these destructive pests; if you kill one, 
say the sailors, a hundred come down to his funeral ! In the 
work of Commodore Owen it is stated that cockroaches, 
pounded into a paste, form a powerful carminative ; this has 
not been confirmed, but when monkeys are fed on them they 
are sure to become so lean as to suggest the idea, that for fat 
people a course of cockroach might be as efficacious as a 
course of Banting. 

On coming to Senna, we found that the Zulus had arrived in 
force for their annual tribute. These men are under good dis- 
cipline, and never steal from the people. The tax is claimed on 
the ground of conquest, the Zulus having formerly completely 
overcome the Senna people, and chased them on to the islands 
in the Zambesi. Fifty-four of the Portuguese were slain on 
the occasion, and, notwithstanding the mud fort, the village 
has never recovered' its former power. Fever was now very 
prevalent, and most of the Portuguese were down with it. 
The village has a number of foul pools, filled with green, fetid 
mud, in which horrid long-snouted greyhound-shaped pigs 
wallow with delight. The greater part of the space enclosed 
in the stockade, which is an oblong of say a thousand yards 
by five hundred, is covered with tall indigo-plants, cassia, 
and bushes, with mounds on which once stood churches and 
monasteries. The air is not allowed free circulation, so it 

Chap. YL 



is not to be wondered at that men suffer from fever. The 
feeding of the pigs is indescribably shocking; but they are a 
favourite food themselves, and the owners may be heard, 
both here and at Tette, recalling them from their wanderings, 
by pet names, as " Joao," " Manoel," " kudia ! kudia ! (to 
-eat, to eat), Antonio ! " We saw a curious variety, which had 
accidentally appeared among these otherwise uninteresting 
brutes. A litter was beautifully marked with yellowish brown 
and white stripes alternately, and the bands, about an inch 
broad, were disposed, not as in the zebra, but horizontally 
along the body. Stripes appear occasionally in mules and 
in horses, and are supposed to show a reversion to the 
original wild type, in the same way that highly-bred domestic 
pigeons sometimes manifest a tendency to revert to the 
plumage of the rock-pigeon, with its black bar across the tail. 
This striped variety may betoken relationship to the original 
wild pig, the young of which are distinctly banded, though 
the marks fade as the animal grows up. 

For a good view of the adjacent scenery, the hill, Bara- 
muana, behind the village, was ascended. A caution was 
given about the probability of an attack of fever from 
a plant that grows near the summit. Dr. Kirk discovered 
it to be the Pcedevia foetida, which, when smelt, actually 
does give headache and fever. It has a nasty fetor, 
as its name indicates. This is one instance in which fever 
and a foul smell coincide. In a number of instances offen- 
sive effluvia and fever seem to have no connexion. Owing 
to the abundant rains, the crops in the Senna district were 
plentiful; this was fortunate, after the partial failure of the 
past two years. It was the 25th of April, 1860, before we 
reached Tette ; here also the crops were luxuriant, and the 
people said that they had not had such abundance since 1856, 



Chap. VI. 

the year when Dr. Livingstone came down the river. It is 
astonishing to any one who has seen the works for irrigation 
in other countries, as at the Cape and in Egypt, that no 
attempt has ever been made to lead out the water either of the 
Zambesi or any of its tributaries ; no machinery has ever been 
used to raise it even from the stream, but droughts and star- 
vation are endured, as if they were inevitable dispensations of 
Providence, incapable of being mitigated. Our friends at 
Tette, though heedless of the obvious advantages which other 
nations would eagerly seize, have beaten the entire world in one 
branch of industry. It is a sort of anomaly that the animal, 
most nearly allied to man in structure and function, should be 
the most alien to him in respect to labour, or trusty friendship ; 
but here the genius of the monkey is turned to good account. 
He is made to work in the chase of certain " wingless insects 
better known than respected." Having been invited to 
witness this branch of Tette industry, we can testify that the 
monkey took to it kindly, and it seemed profitable to both 

Chap. VII. 




Prepare for a journey to the Makololo country — Sailors' garden — Wheat, 
time and mode of sowing — Start from Tette May 15th, to take the Makololo 
home — Lukewarmness and desertions — Evil effects of contact with slaves 
— Man lion and lion man — Eeasoning with a lion — Popular belief — New 
path through Kebrabasa hills — Sandia — Elephant-hunt — Game law — 
A feast of elephant-meat — We strike Zambesi by Morumbwa, and complete 
the survey of Kebrabasa from end to end — Banyai again — View of 
Kebrabasa — Chicova plains and open river — Sandia's report of Kebrabasa. 

Feeling in honour bound to return with those who had been 
the faithful companions of Dr. Livingstone, in 1856, and to 
whose guardianship and services was due the accomplishment 
of a journey which all the Portuguese at Tette had previously 
pronounced impossible, the requisite steps were taken to 
convey them to their homes. 

We laid the ship alongside of the island Kanyimbe, opposite 
Tette ; and, before starting for the country of the Makololo, 
obtained a small plot of land, to form a garden for the 
two English sailors who were to remain in charge during 
our absence. We furnished them with a supply of seeds, 
and they set to work with such zeal, that they cer- 
tainly merited success. Their first attempt at African 
horticulture met with failure from a most unexpected source ; 
every seed was dug up and the inside of it eaten by 
mice. "Yes," said an old native, next morning, on seeing 
the husks, " that is what happens this month ; for it is the 
mouse month, and the seed should have been sown last month, 
when I sowed mine." The sailors, however, sowed more 
next day; and, being determined to outwit the mice, they 


Chap. VII. 

this time covered the beds over with grass. The onions, with 
other seeds of plants cultivated by the Portuguese, are usually 
planted in the beginning of April, in order to have the 
advantage of the cold season ; the wheat a little later, for 
the same reason. If sown at the beginning of the rainy 
season in Xovember, it runs, as before remarked, entirely to 
straw ; but, as the rains are nearly over in May, advantage is 
taken of low-lying patches, which have been flooded by the 
river. A hole is made in the mud with a hoe, a few seeds 
dropped in, and the earth shoved back with the foot. If not 
favoured with certain misty showers, which, lower down the 
river, are simply fogs, water is borne from the river to the roots 
of the wheat in earthen pots ; and, in about four months, the 
crop is ready for the sickle. The wheat of Tette is exported, 
as the best grown in the country ; but a hollow spot at Maruru, 
close by Mazaro, yielded very good crops, though just at the 
level of the sea, as a few inches rise of tide shows. 

A number of days were spent in busy preparation for our 
journey ; the cloth, beads, and brass wire, for the trip, were 
sewn up in old canvass, and each package had the bearer's 
name printed on it. The Makololo, who had worked for the 
Expedition, were paid for their services, and every one who 
had come down with the Doctor from the interior received 
a present of cloth and ornaments, in order to protect 
them from the greater cold of their own countrv. and 
to show that thev had not come in vain. Though called 
Makololo by courtesy, as they were proud of the name, Kan- 
yata, the principal headman, was the only real Makololo 
of the party ; and he, in virtue of his birth, had succeeded 
to the chief place on the death of Sekwebu. The others be- 
longed to the conquered tribes of the Bat oka, Bashubia, Ba- 
Selea, and Barotse. Some of these men had only added to 

Chap. VII. 



their own vices those of the Tette slaves ; others, by toiling 
during the first two years in navigating canoes, and hunting 
elephants, had often managed to save a little, to take back to 
their own country, but had to part with it all for food to support 
the rest in times of hunger, and, latterly, had fallen into the 
improvident habits of slaves, and spent their surplus earnings 
in beer and agua ardiente. 

Everything being ready on the 15th of May, we started 
at 2 p.m. from the village where the Makololo had dwelt. 
A number of the men did not leave with the good- 
will which their talk for months before had led us to 
anticipate ; but some proceeded upon being told that 
they were not compelled to go unless they liked, though 
others altogether declined moving. Many had taken up 
with slave-women, whom they assisted in hoeing, and in con- 
suming the produce of their gardens. Some fourteen children 
had been born to them ; and in consequence of now haying no 
Chief to order them, or to claim their services, they thought 
that they were about as well off as they had been in their 
own country. They knew and regretted that they could 
call neither wives nor children their own ; the slave-owners 
claimed the whole ; but their natural affections had been so 
enchained, that they clave to the domestic ties. By a law of 
Portugal the baptized children of slave women are all free ; by 
the custom of the Zambesi that law is void. When it is re- 
ferred to, the officers laugh and say, " These Lisbon-born laws 
are very stringent, but somehow, possibly from the heat of the 
climate, here they lose all their force." Only one woman 
joined our party — the wife of a Batoka man : she had been 
given to him, in consideration of his skilful dancing, by 
the chief, Chisaka. A merchant sent three of his men along 
with us, with a present for Sekeletu, and Major Sicard also lent 


us three more to assist us on our return, and two Portuguese 
gentlemen kindly gave us the loan of a couple of donkeys. 
We slept four miles above Tette, and hearing that the 
Banyai, who levy heavy fines on the Portuguese traders, lived 
chiefly on the right bank, we crossed over to the left, as we 
could not fully trust our men. If the Banyai had come 
in a threatening manner, our followers might perhaps, from 
having homes behind them, have even put down their bundles 
and run. Indeed two of them, at this point, made up their 
minds to go no further, and turned back to Tette. Another, 
Monga, a Batoka, was much perplexed, and could not make 
out what course to pursue, as he had, three years previously, 
wounded Kanyata, the headman, with a spear. This is a capital 
offence among the Makololo, and he was afraid of being put 
to death for it on his return. He tried, in vain, to console 
himself with the facts that he had neither father, mother, 
sisters, nor brothers, to mourn for him, and that he could die 
but once. He was good, and would go up to the stars to Yesu, 
and, therefore, did not care for death. In spite, however, of 
these reflections, he was much cast down, until Kanyata assured 
him that he would never mention his misdeed to the Chief ; 
indeed, he had never even mentioned it to the Doctor, which 
he would assuredly have done, had it lain heavy on his heart. 
We were right glad of Monga's company, for he was a merry 
good-tempered fellow, and his lithe manly figure had always 
been in the front in danger; and, from being left-handed, 
had been easily recognised in the fight with elephants. 

We commenced, for a certain number of days, with short 
marches, walking gently until broken in to travel. This is of so 
much importance that it occurs to us that more might be made 
out of soldiers if the first few days' inarches were easy, and 
gradually increased in length and quickness. The nights were 


Chap. VII. 



cold, with heavy dews and occasional showers, and we had 
several cases of fever. Some of the men deserted every night, 
and we fully expected that all who had children would prefer 
to return to Tette, for little ones are well known to prove the 
strongest ties, even to slaves. It was useless informing them, 
that if they wanted to return they had only to come and tell 
us so ; we should not be angry with them for preferring Tette 
to their own country. Contact with slaves had destroyed their 
sense of honour, they would not go in daylight, but de- 
camped in the night, only in one instance, however, taking 
our goods, though, in two more, they carried off their 
comrades' property. By the time we had got well into the 
Kebrabasa hills, thirty men, nearly a third of the party, had 
turned back, and it became evident that, if many more left 
us, Sekeletu's goods could not be carried up. At last, when 
the refuse had fallen away, no more desertions took place. 

Stopping one afternoon at a Kebrabasa village, a man, 
who pretended to be able to change himself into a lion, came 
to salute us. Smelling the gunpowder from a gun which 
had been discharged, he went on one side to get out of 
the wind of the piece, trembling in a most artistic manner, 
but quite overacting his part. The Makololo explained to 
us that he was a Pondoro, or a man who can change his 
form at will, and added that he trembles when he smells 
gunpowder. " Do you not see how he is trembling now ? " 
We told them to ask him to change himself at once into a 
lion, and we would give him a cloth for the performance. 
a Oh, no," replied they ; " if we tell him so, he may change him- 
self and come when we are asleep and kill us." Having similar 
superstitions at home, they readily became as firm believers 
in the Pondoro as the natives of the village. We were told 
that he assumes the form of a lion and remains in the woods 

160 • 


Chap. VIL 

for days, and is sometimes absent for a whole month. His 
considerate wife had built him a hut or den, in which she 
places food and beer for her transformed lord, whose metamor- 
phosis does not impair his human appetite. No one ever 
enters this hut except the Poncloro and his wife, and no 
stranger is allowed even to rest his gun against the Baobab- 
tree beside it : the Mfumo, or petty Chief, of another 
small village wished to fine our men for placing their 
muskets against an old tumble-down hut, it being that 
of the Pondoro. At times the Pondoro employs his acquired 
powers in hunting for the benefit of the village ; and, after an 
absence of a day or two, his wife smells the lion, takes a certain 
medicine, places it in the forest, and there quickly leaves it, 
lest the lion should kill even her. This medicine enables the 
Pondoro to change himself back into a man, return to the 
village, and say " Go and get the game that I have killed 
for you." Advantage is of course taken of what a lion has 
done, and they go and bring home the buffalo or antelope 
killed when he was a lion, or rather found when he was 
patiently pursuing his course of deception in the forest. We 
saw the Pondoro of another village dressed in a fantastic 
style, with numerous charms hung round him, and followed 
by a troop of boys who were honouring him with rounds 
of shrill cheering. 

It is believed also that the souls of departed Chiefs 
enter into lions and render them sacred. On one occasion, 
when we had shot a buffalo in the path beyond the Kafue, 
a hungry lion, attracted probably by the smell of the 
meat, came close to our camp, and roused up all hands by his 
roaring. Tuba Mokoro, imbued with the popular belief that the 
beast was a Chief in disguise, scolded him roundly during his 
brief intervals of silence. " You a Chief, eh ? You call your- 

Chap. VII. 



self a Chief, do you? What kind of Chief are you to come 
sneaking about in the dark, trying to steal our buffalo 
meat! Are you not ashamed of yourself? A pretty Chief 
truly ; you are like the scavenger beetle, and think of your- 
self only. You have not the heart of a Chief ; why don't you 
kill your own beef? You must have a stone in your chest, 
and no heart at all, indeed ! " Tuba Mokoro producing no 
impression on the transformed Chief, one of the men, the most 
sedate of the party, who seldom spoke, took up the matter, 
and tried the lion in another strain. In his slow quiet way 
lie expostulated with him on the impropriety of such conduct 
to strangers, who had never injured him. " We were travelling 
peaceably through the country back to our own Chief. We 
never killed people, nor stole anything. The buffalo meat 
was ours, not his, and it did not become a great Chief like 
him to be prowling round in the dark, trying, like a hyena, 
to steal the meat of strangers. He might go and hunt for 
himself, as there was plenty of game in the forest." The 
Pondoro, being deaf to reason, and only roaring the louder, the 
men became angry, and threatened to send a ball through him 
if he did not go awa}^. They snatched up their guns to shoot 
him, but he prudently kept in the dark, outside of the lumi- 
nous circle made by our camp fires, and there they did not 
like to venture. A little strychnine was put into a piece of 
meat, and thrown to him, when he soon departed, and we 
heard no more of the majestic sneaker. 

The Kebrabasa people were now plumper and in better 
condition than on our former visits ; the harvest had been 
abundant ; they had plenty to eat and drink, and they were 
enjoying life as much as ever they could. At Defwe's 
village, near where the ship lay on her first ascent, we found 
two Mfumos or headmen, the son and son-in-law of the former 



Chief. A sister's son lias much more chance of succeeding to 
a chieftainship than the Chiefs own offspring, it being un- 
questionable that the sister's child has the family blood. The 
men are all marked across the nose and up the middle of the 
forehead, with short horizontal bars or cicatrices ; and a single 
brass earring of two or three inches diameter, like the ancient 
Egypt ia is worn by the men. Some wear the hair long 
like the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians, and a few have 
eyes with the downward and inward slant of the Chinese. 

After fording the rapid Luia, we left our former path od 
the banks of the Zambesi, and struck off in a N.W. direction 
behind one of the hill ranges, the eastern end of which is called 
Mongwa, the name of an acacia, having a peculiarly strong 
fetor, found on it. Our route wound up a valley along a small 
niountain-stream which w r as nearly dry, and then crossed the 
rocky spurs of some of the lofty hills. The country was all 
very dry at the time, and no water was found except in an oc- 
casional spring and a few wells dug in the beds of water- 
courses. The people were poor, and always anxious to convince 
travellers of the fact. The men, unlike those on the plains, 
spend a good deal of their time in hunting; this may be 
because they have but little ground on the hill-sides suitable 
for gardens, and but little certainty of reaping what may be 
sown in the valleys. No women came forward in the hamlet, 
east of Chiperiziwa, where we halted for the night. Two shots 
had been fired at guinea-fowl a little way off in the valley ; 
the women fled into the w T oods, and the men came to know if 
war was meant, and a few of the old folks only returned after 
hearing that Ave were for peace. The headman, Kambira, 
apologized for not having a present ready, and afterwards 
brought us some meal, a roasted coney (Hyrax capensis) and 
a pot of beer ; he wished to be thought poor. The beer had 

Chap. VII. 



come to him from a distance ; he had none of his own. Like 
the Manganja, these people salute by clapping their hands. 
When a man comes to a place where others are seated, before 
sitting down he claps his hands to each in succession, and they 
do the same to him. If he has anything to tell, both speaker 
and hearer clap their hands at the close of every paragraph, 
and then again vigorously at the end of the speech. The 
guide, whom the headman gave us, thus saluted each of his 
comrades before he started off with us. There is so little 
difference in the language, that all the tribes of this region 
are virtually of one family. 

We proceeded still in the same direction, and passed 
only two small hamlets during the day. Except the noise 
our men made on the march, everything was still around us : 
few birds were seen, The appearance of a whydah-bird 
showed that he had not yet parted with his fine long plumes. 
We passed immense quantities of ebony and lignum- vitse, 
and the tree from whose smooth and bitter bark granaries 
are made for corn. The country generally is clothed with a 
forest of ordinary-sized trees. We slept in the little village 
near Sindabwe, where our men contrived to purchase plenty 
of beer, and were uncommonly boisterous all the evening. 
We breakfasted next morning under green wild date- 
palms, beside the fine flowery stream, which runs through 
the charming valley of Zibah. We now had Mount Chi- 
periziwa between us, and part of the river near Morumbwa, 
having in fact come north about in order to avoid the diffi- 
culties of our former path. The last of the deserters, a 
reputed thief, took French leave of us here. He left the 
bundle of cloth he was carrying in the path a hundred 
yards in front of where we halted, but made off with the 
musket and most of the brass rings and beads of his comrade 

m 2 



Chap. VII. 

Shirimba, who had unsuspectingly intrusted them to his 

Proceeding S.W. up this lovely valley, in about an hour's 
time we reached Sandia's village. The Chief was said to 
be absent hunting, and they did not know when he would 
return. This is such a common answer to the inquiry after 
a headman, that one is inclined to think, that it only means 
that they wish to know the stranger's object, before exposing 
their superior to danger. As some of our men were ill, a halt 
was made here. Sandia's people were very civil : a kinsman 
of his came to see us in the evening, bringing a large pot of 
beer : he did not like to see us eating with nothing to drink, 
so brought it as a present. When at a distance from those 
who are engaged in the slave-trade, there is much in the 
manners of the natives, and their ways of speaking, to remind 
us of the Patriarchs. The inhabitants of Zibah are Badema, 
and a wealthier class than those we have recently passed, with 
more cloth, ornaments, food and luxuries. Fowls, eggs, 
sugar-canes, sweet-potatoes, ground-nuts, turmeric, tomatoes, 
chillies, rice, mapira (Jwlcus sorghum), and maize, were 
offered for sale in large quantities. The mapira may be 
called the corn of the country. It is known as Kaffir and 
Guinea corn, in the south and west ; as dura in Egypt, and 
badjery in India ; the grain is round and white, or reddish- 
white, about the size of the hemp-seed given to canaries. 
Several hundred grains form a massive ear, on a stalk as thick 
as an ordinary walking-staff, and from eight to eighteen feet 
high. Tobacco, hemp, and cotton were also cultivated, as, 
indeed, they are by all the people in Kebrabasa. In nearly 
every village here, as in the Manganja hills, men are engaged 
in spinning and weaving cotton of excellent quality. 

As we were unable to march next morning, six of our young 




men, anxious to try their muskets, went off to hunt elephants. 
For several hours they saw nothing, and some of them, getting 
tired, proposed to go to a village and buy food. "No !" said 
Mantlanyane, " we came to hunt, so let us go on." In a short 
time they fell in with a herd of cow elephants and calves. As 
soon as the first cow caught sight of the hunters on the rocks 
above her, she, with true motherly instinct, placed her young- 
one between her fore-legs for protection. The men were 
for scattering, and firing into the herd indiscriminately. 
" That won't do," cried Mantlanyane, " let us all fire at this 
one." The poor beast received a volley, and ran down into 
the plain, where another shot killed her ; the young one 
escaped with the herd. The men were wild with excitement, 
and danced round the fallen queen of the forest, with loud 
shouts and exultant songs. They returned, bearing as 
trophies, the tail and part of the trunk, and marched into 
camp as erect as soldiers, and evidently feeling that their 
stature had increased considerably since the morning. 

Sandia's wife was duly informed of their success, as here a 
law decrees that half the elephant belongs to the Chief on 
whose ground it has been killed. The Portuguese traders 
always submit to this tax, and, were it of native origin, it 
could hardly be considered unjust. A Chief must have some 
source of revenue ; and, as many Chiefs can raise none except 
from ivory or slaves, this tax is more free from objections than 
any other that a black Chancellor of the Exchequer could 
devise. It seems, however, to have originated with the Portu- 
guese themselves, and then to have spread among the adjacent 
tribes. The Governors look sharply after any elephant that 
may be slain on the Crown lands, and demand one of the tusks 
from their vassals. We did not find the law in operation in any 
tribe beyond the range of Portuguese traders, or further than 



the sphere of travel of those Arabs who imitated Portuguese 
customs in trade. At the Kafue in 1855 the Chiefs bought the 
meat we killed, and demanded nothing as their due ; and so it 
was up the Shire during our visits. The slaves of the Portu- 
guese, who are sent by their masters to shoot elephants, pro- 
bably connive at the extension of this law, for they strive to 
get the good will of the Chiefs to whose country they come, 
by advising them to make a demand of half of each 
elephant killed, and for this advice they are well paid in 
beer. When we found that the Portuguese argued in favour 
of this law, we told the natives that they might exact 
tusks from them, but that the English, being different, 
preferred the pure native custom. It was this which made 
Sandia, as afterwards mentioned, hesitate ; but we did not care 
to insist on exemption in our favour, where the prevalence of 
the custom might have been held to justify the exaction. 

Sandia's wife said that she had sent a messenger to her 
husband on the clay of our arrival, and soon expected his return ; 
but that some of his people would go with our men in the morn- 
ing, and receive what we chose to give. We accompanied our 
hunters across the hills to the elephant vale, north of Zibah. 
It was a beautiful valley covered with tall heavy-seeded 
grass, on which the elephants had been quietly feeding when 
attacked. We found the carcass undisturbed, an enormous 
mass of meat. 

The cutting up of an elephant is quite a unique spec- 
tacle. The men stand round the animal in dead silence, 
while the chief of the travelling party declares that, ac- 
cording to ancient law, the head and right hind-leg belong- 
to him who killed the beast, that is, to him who inflicted 
the first wound; the left leg to him who delivered the 
second, or first touched the animal after it fell. The meat 

Chap. VII. 



around the eye to the English, or chief of the travellers, 
and different parts to the headmen of the different fires, 
or groups, of which the camp is composed ; not forgetting 
to enjoin the preservation of the fat and bowels for a second 
distribution. This oration finished, the natives soon become 
excited, and scream wildly as they cut away at the carcass 
with a score of spears, whose long handles quiver in the 
air above their heads. Their excitement becomes momen- 
tarily more and more intense, and reaches the culminating 
point when, as denoted by a roar of gas, the huge mass is 
laid fairly open. Some jump inside, and roll about there in 
their eagerness to seize the precious fat, while others run olf, 
screaming, with pieces of the bloody meat, throw it on the 
grass, and run back for more : all keep talking and shouting 
at the utmost pitch of their voices. Sometimes two or three, 
regardless of all laws, seize the same piece of meat, and have 
a brief fight of words over it. Occasionally an agonized yell 
bursts forth, and a native emerges out of the moving mass of 
dead elephant and wriggling humanity, with his hand badly 
cut by the spear of his excited friend and neighbour: this 
requires a rag and some soothing words to prevent bad blood. 
In an incredibly short time tons of meat are cut up, and 
placed in separate heaps around. 

Sandia arrived soon after the beast was divided : he is an 
elderly man, and wears a wig made of ife fibre (sanseviera) 
dyed black, and of a fine glossy appearance. This plant 
is allied to the aloes, and its thick fleshy leaves, in shape 
somewhat like our sedges, when bruised yield much fine 
strong fibre, which is made into ropes, nets, and wigs. It takes 
dyes readily, and the fibre might form a good article of com- 
merce. Ife wigs, as we afterwards saw, are not uncommon 
in this country, though perhaps not so common as hair wigs at 



Chap. VII. 

home. Sanclia's niosamela, or small carved wooden pillow, 
exactly resembling the ancient Egyptian one, was hung from 
the back of his neck ; this pillow and a sleeping mat are 
usually carried by natives when on hunting excursions. The 
Chief visited the different camp-fires of our men, and accepted 
presents of meat from them ; but said that he should like to 
consume it with his elders, as he wished to consult them 
whether he ought to receive the half of the elephant from the 
Englishmen. His Cabinet, seeing no good reason for departing 
from the established custom, concluded that it was best to treat 
white tax-payers as on a perfect equality with black ones, and 
to accept the half which belonged to Sandia's Government. In 
the afternoon the Chief returned with his counsellors, accom- 
panied by his wife and several other women, carrying five pots 
of beer : three, he explained, were a present to the white men, 
and the other two were intended for sale. The women have 
a remarkably erect gait, probably from having been accus- 
tomed from infancy to carry heavy water-pots on their heads. 
This brings all the muscles of the back into play, and might 
prove beneficial as a practice to those who are troubled with 
weakness of spine among ourselves. They use a piece of 
wood between the head and pot, perhaps for elegance. 

We had the elephant's fore-foot cooked for ourselves, in 
native fashion. A large hole was dug in the ground, in 
which a fire was made ; and, when the inside was thoroughly 
heated, the entire foot was placed in it, and covered over 
with the hot ashes and soil ; another fire was made above the 
whole, and kept burning all night. We had the foot thus 
cooked for breakfast next morning, and found it delicious. It 
is a whitish mass, slightly gelatinous, and sweet, like marrow. 
A long march, to prevent biliousness, is a wise precaution 
after a meal of elephant's foot. Elephant's trunk and tongue 


are also good, and, after long simmering, much resemble 
the hump of a buffalo, and the tongue of an ox ; but all the 
other meat is tough, and, from its peculiar flavour, only to be 
eaten by a hungry man. The quantities of meat our men 
devour is quite astounding. They boil as much as their 
pots will hold, and eat till it becomes physically impossible 
for them to stow away any more. An uproarious dance 
follows, accompanied with stentorian song ; and as soon 
as they have shaken their first course down, and washed off 
the sweat and dust of the after performance, they go to work 
to roast more : a short snatch of sleep succeeds, and they are 
up and at it again ; all night long it is boil and eat, roast and 
devour, with a few brief interludes of sleep. Like other car- 
nivora these men can endure hunger for a much longer period 
than the mere porridge-eating tribes. Our men can cook meat 
as well as any reasonable traveller could desire ; and, boiled in 
earthen pots, like Indian chatties, it tastes much better than 
when cooked in iron ones. 

Their porridge is a failure, at least for a Scotch diges- 
tion that has been impaired by fever. When on a journey, 
unaccompanied by women, as soon as the water is hot, 
they tumble in the meal by handfuls in rapid succession, 
until it becomes too thick to Stir about, when it is 
whipped off the fire, and placed on the ground ; an assist- 
ant then holds the pot, whilst the cook, grasping the stick 
with both hands, exerts his utmost strength in giving it a 
number of circular turns, to mix and prevent the solid mass 
from being burnt by the heat. It is then served up to us, 
the cook retaining the usual perquisite of as much as can be 
induced to adhere to the stick, when he takes it from the pot. 
By this process, the meal is merely moistened and warmed, 
but not boiled; much of it being raw, it always causes 



heartburn. This is the only mode that the natives have of 
cooking the mapira meal. They seldom, if ever, bake it into 
cakes, like oatmeal ; for, though finely ground and beauti- 
fully white, it will not cohere readily. Maize meal is formed 
into dough more readily, but that too is inferior to wheaten 
flour, or even oatmeal, for baking. It was rather difficult to 
persuade the men to boil the porridge for us more patiently ; 
and they became witty, and joked us for being like women, 
when the weakness of fever compelled us to pay some attention 
to the cooking, evidently thinking that it was beneath the 
dignity of white men to stoop to such matters. They look 
upon the meal and water porridge of the black tribes as the 
English used to do upon the French frogs, and call the eaters 
" mere water-porridge fellows," while the Makololo's meal and 
milk porridge takes the character of English roast-beef. 

Sandia gave us two guides ; and on the 4th of June we 
left the Elephant valley, taking a westerly course ; and, after 
crossing a few riclges, entered the Chingerere or Paguru- 
guru valley, through which, in the rainy season, runs the 
streamlet Pajodze. The mountains on our left, between 
us and the Zambesi, our guides told us have the same 
name as the valley, but that at the confluence of the 
Pajodze is called Morumbwa. We struck the river at 
less than half a mile to the north of the cataract Mo- 
rumbwa. On climbing up the base of this mountain at 
Pajodze. we found that we were distant only the diameter 
of the mountain from the cataract. In measuring the cataract 
we formerly stood on its southern flank ; now we were perched 
on its northern flank, and at once recognised the onion- 
shaped mountain, here called Zakavuma, whose smooth con- 
vex surface overlooks the broken water. Its bearing by 
compass was 180° from the spot to which we had climbed 

€hap. VII. 



and 700 or 800 yards distant. We now, from this standing- 
point, therefore, completed our inspection of allKebrabasa, and 
saw what, as a whole, was never before seen by Europeans so 
far as any records show. 

The difference of level between Pajodze and Tette, as 
shown by the barometer, was about 160 feet ; but it must 
be remembered that we had no simultaneous observations at 
the two stations. The somewhat conical shape of Zaka- 
vuma standing on the right, and the more castellated 
form of Morumbwa on the left, constitute the narrow gate- 
way in which the cataract exists. The talus of each portal, 
keeping close together northwards, makes a narrow, upright- 
sided trough from the cataract up to Pajodze. The deep 
green river winds in it among massive black angular rocks ; 
above this, as far as Chicova, the Zambesi again has a flood 
bed and a deep waterworn groove, like that near the lower 
end of Kebrabasa, but the flood bed is only 200 or 300 
yards broad, and the stream in this part of the groove 
is adorned in various places with the white foam of a 
number of small rapids. By the motion of pieces of 
wood in the water, and timed by a watch, the current 
was ascertained to be from 3*3 to 4*1 knots per hour 
in the more rapid places. We breakfasted a short dis- 
tance above Pajodze. At a comparatively smooth part 
of the Zambesi, called Movuzi, still further up, where 
traders sometimes cross from the southern to the northern 
bank, a Banvai headman came over with a dozen armed 
followers, and in an insolent way demanded payment for 
leave to pass on our way. This was not a friendly 
request for a present, so our men told him that it was 
not the custom of the English to pay fines for nothing ; 
and, being unsuccessful, he went quietly back again. One 



Chief pf the Banyai on the opposite bank is called Zucla, 
which the Portuguese translate into Judas, on account of his 
grasping propensities. Talking of us to some of our party, he 
said, " These men passed me going down and gave me 
nothing ; the English cloth is good ; I am come to clothe 
myself with it now as they go up." His messenger came and 
sat down impudently in our midst before we rose from 
breakfast, and began an oration, not to us, but to his atten- 
dant. This talking at us roused the Makololo's ire, and 
they replied that "English cloth was good; and Englishmen 
paid for all they ate. They were now walking on God's earth 
in peace, doing no harm to the country or gardens, though 
English guns had six mouths, and English balls travelled far, 
and hit hard." However, by keeping on the left bank, we 
avoided collision with these troublesome and exacting Banyai, 
The remainder of the Kebrabasa path, on to Chicova, was 
close to the compressed and rocky river. Kanges of lofty 
tree-covered mountains, with deep narrow valleys, in which 
are dry watercourses, or flowing rivulets, stretch from the 
north-west, and are prolonged on the opposite side of the 
river in a south-easterly direction. Looking back, the moun- 
tain scenery in Kebrabasa was magnificent ; conspicuous from 
their form and steej) sides, are the two gigantic portals of the 
cataract; the vast forests still wore their many brilliant 
autumnal-coloured tints of green, yellow, red, purple, and 
brown, thrown into relief by the grey bark of the trunks in 
the background. Among these variegated trees were some con- 
spicuous for their new livery of fresh light-green leaves, as 
though the winter of others was their spring. The bright sun- 
shine in these mountain forests, and the ever-changing forms 
of the cloud shadows, gliding over portions of the surface, 
added fresh charms to scenes already surpassingly beautiful. 



From what we have seen of the Kebrabasa rocks and 
rapids, it appears too evident that they must always form a 
barrier to navigation at the ordinary low water of the river ; 
but the rise of the water in this gorge being as much as eighty 
feet perpendicularly, it is probable that a steamer might be 
taken up at high flood, when all the rapids are smoothed 
over, to run on the upper Zambesi. The most formidable cata- 
ract in it, Morumbwa, has only about twenty feet of fall, in 
a distance of thirty yards, and it must entirely disappear when 
the water stands eighty feet higher. Those of the Makololo 
who worked on board the ship were not sorry at the steamer 
being left below, as they had become heartily tired of cutting 
the wood that the insatiable furnace of the " Asthmatic " re- 
quired. Mbia, who was a bit of a wag, laughingly exclaimed 
in broken English, " Oh, Kebrabasa good, very good ; no let 
shippee up to Sekeletu, too rnuchee work, cuttee woody ee, 
cuttee woodyee : Kebrabasa good." It is currently reported, 
and commonly believed, that once upon a time a Portuguese 
named Jose Pedra, — by the natives called Nyamatimbira, — 
Chief, or capitao mor, of Zumbo, a man of large enterprise 
and small humanity, — being anxious to ascertain if Kebrabasa 
could be navigated, made two slaves fast to a canoe, and 
launched it from Chicova into Kebrabasa, in order to see if 
it would come out at the other end. As neither slaves nor 
€anoe ever appeared again, his Excellency concluded that 
Kebrabasa was unnavigable. A trader had a large canoe 
swept away by a sudden rise of the river, and it was found 
without damage below ; but the most satisfactory infor- 
mation was that of old Sandia, who asserted that in flood 
all Kebrabasa became quite smooth, and he had often seen 
it so. 



Chap. VIII. 


Puss from Kebrabasa on to Cliicova on 7tli June, 18G0 — Native travellers' 
mode of making fire — Night arrangements of the camp — Native names of 
Stars — Moon-blindness — Our volunteer fireman — Native political discus- 
sions — Our manner of marching — Not to make toil of a pleasure — The 
civilized show more endurance than the uncivilized — Chitora's politeness — 
Filtered water preferred by native women — "Whites hobgoblins to the 
blacks — The fear of man on wild animals — First impressions of a donkey's 
vocal powers. 

We emerged from the thirty-five or forty miles of Kebrabasa 
hills into the Cliicova plains on the 7th of June, 1860, 
having made short marches all the way. The cold nights 
caused some of our men to cough badly, and colds in this 
country almost invariably become fever. The Zambesi sud- 
denly expands at Chicova, and assumes the size and appear- 
ance it has at Tette. Near this point we found a large seam 
of coal exposed in the left bank. 

We met with native travellers occasionally. Those 
on a long journey carry with them a sleeping-mat and 
wooden pillow, cooking-pot and bag of meal, pipe and 
tobacco-pouch, a knife, bow, and arrows, and two small sticks, 
of from two to three feet in length, for making fire, when 
obliged to sleep away from human habitations. Dry wood 
is always abundant, and they get fire by the following 
method. A notch is cut in one of the sticks, which, with 
a close-grained outside, has a small core of pith, and this 
notched stick is laid horizontally on a knife-blade on the 
ground; the operator squatting, places his great toes on 
each end to keep all steady, and taking the other wand, 
which is of very hard wood cut to a blunt point, fits it into 



the notch at right angles ; the upright wand is made to spin 
rapidly backwards and forwards between the palms of the 
hands, drill fashion, and at the same time is pressed 
downwards; the friction, in the course of a minute or so, 
ignites portions of the pith of the notched stick, which, 
rolling over like live charcoal on to the knife-blade, are 
lifted into a handful of fine dry grass, and carefully blown, 
by waving backwards and forwards in the air. It is hard 
work for the hands to procure fire by this process, as the 
vigorous drilling and downward pressure requisite soon 
blister soft palms. 

Having now entered a country where lions were numerous, 
our men began to pay greater attention to the arrangements 
of the camp at night. As they are accustomed to do with 
their Chiefs, they place the white men in the centre ; Kan- 
yata, his men, and the two donkeys, camp on our right; 
Tuba Mokoro's party of Bashubia are in front, Masakasa, 
and Sininyane's body of Batoka, on the left, and in the rear 
six Tette men have their fires. In placing their fires they 
are careful to put them where the smoke will not blow in 
our faces. Soon after we halt, the spot for the English is 
selected, and all regulate their places accordingly, and 
deposit their burdens. The men take it by turns to cut 
some of the tall dry grass, and spread it for our beds on a 
spot, either naturally level, or smoothed by the hoe ; some, 
appointed to carry our bedding, then bring our rugs and 
karosses, and place the three rugs in a row on the grass; 
Dr. Livingstone's being in the middle, Dr. Kirk's on the right, 
and Charles Livingstone's on the left. Our bags, rifles, and 
revolvers are carefully placed at our heads, and a fire 
made near our feet. We have no tent nor covering of 
any kind except the branches of the tree under which we 



Chap. VIII. 

may happen to lie ; and it is a pretty sight to look up and 
see every branch, leaf, and twig of the tree stand out, re- 
flected against the clear star-spangled and moonlit sky. The 
stars of the first magnitude have names which convey the 
same meaning over very wide tracts of country. Here when 
Venus comes out in the evenings, she is called Ntanda, the 
eldest or first-born, and Manjika, the first-born of morn- 
ing, at other times : she has so much radiance when shining 
alone, that she casts a shadow. Sirius is named Kuewa usiko, 
" drawer of night," because supposed to draw the whole night 
after it. The moon has no evil influence in this country, so 
far as we know. We have lain and looked up at her, till sweet 
sleep closed our eyes, unharmed. Four or five of our men 
were affected with moon-blindness at Tette ; though they 
had not slept out of doors there, they became so blind 
that tbeiu comrades had to guide their hands to the general 
dish of food ; the affection is unknown in their own 
country. When our posterity shall have discovered what it 
is which, distinct from foul smells, causes fever, and what, 
apart from the moon, causes men to be moon-struck, they 
will pity our dulness of perception. 

The men cut a very small quantity of grass for them- 
selves, and sleep in fumbas or sleeping-bags, which are 
double mats of palm-leaf, six feet long by four wide, and 
sewn together round three parts of the square, and left 
open only on one side. They are used as a protection 
from the cold, wet, and mosquitoes, and are entered as we 
should get into our beds, were the blankets nailed to the 
top, bottom, and one side of the bedstead. When they 
are all inside their fumbas, nothing is seen but sacks lying- 
all about the different fires. At times two persons sleep 
inside one, which is, indeed, close packing. Matonga, one of 



the men, has volunteered to take the sole charge of our fire, 
and is to receive for his services the customary payment of 
the heads and necks of all the beasts we kill ; and, except on 
the days when only guinea-fowl are shot, he thus gets 
abundance of food. He bears our fowl diet resignedly for a 
few days, and then, if no large game is killed, he comes and 
expostulates as seriously, as he did with the lion that envied 
us our buffalo meat, " Morena, my lord, a hungry man 
cannot fill his stomach with the head of a bird ; he is killed 
with hunger for want of meat, and will soon, from sheer 
weakness, be unable to carry the wood for the fire ; he ought 
to have an entire bird to save him from dying of starvation." 
His request being reasonable, and guinea-fowl abundant, it 
is of course complied with. Guinea-fowl are conveniently 
numerous on the Zambesi during the dry season ; they then 
collect in large flocks and come daily to the river to drink, 
and roost at night on the tall acacia-trees on its banks. 
We usually fall in with two or three flocks in the course of 
the day's march, and find that, they are all fat, and in 
excellent condition. In a few spots, as at Shupanga, a 
second variety is found, which has a pretty black feathery 
crest, and is a much handsomer bird than the common one ; 
the native name is Khanga Tore, and its spots are a fine 
light blue. Naturalists call it Numida cristata. 

A dozen fires are nightly kindled in the camp ; and these, 
being replenished from time to time by the men who are 
awakened by the cold, are kept burning until daylight. 
Abundance of dry hard wood is obtained with little 
trouble; and burns beautifully. After the great business 
of cooking and eating is over, all sit round the camp-fires, 
and engage in talking or singing. Every evening one of the 
Batoka plays his sansa, and continues at it until far into 




Chap. VIII. 

the night; lie accompanies it with an extempore song, in 
which he rehearses their deeds ever since they left their own 
country. At times animated political discussions spring up, 
and the amount of eloquence expended on these occasions 
is amazing. The whole camp is aroused, and the men shout 
to one another from the different fires ; whilst some, whose 
tongues are never heard on any other subject, now burst 
forth into impassioned speech. The misgovernment of Chiefs 
furnishes an inexhaustible theme. " We could govern our- 
selves better," they cry, " so what is the use of Chiefs at all ? 
they do not work. The Chief is fat, and has plenty of wives ; 
whilst we, who do the hard work, have hunger, only one wife, 
or more likely none ; now this must be bad, unjust, and 
wrong." All shout to this a loud "ehe," equivalent to our 
" hear, hear." Next the headman, Kanyata, and Tuba with 
his loud voice, are heard taking up the subject on the loyal 
side. " The Chief is the father of the people ; can there be 
people without a father, eh ? God made the Chief. Who says 
that the Chief is not wise ? He is wise ; but his children are 
fools." Tuba goes on generally till he has silenced all oppo- 
sition ; and if his arguments are not always sound, his voice 
is the loudest, and he is sure to have the last word. 

As a specimen of our mode of marching, we rise about 
five, or as soon as dawn appears, take a cup of tea and a 
bit of biscuit ; the servants fold up the blankets and stow 
them away in the bags they carry; the others tie their 
fumbas and cooking-pots to each end of their carrying-sticks, 
which are borne on the shoulder ; the cook secures the 
dishes, and all are on the path by sunrise. If a con- 
venient spot can be found we halt for breakfast about nine 
a.m. To save time, this meal is generally cooked the night 
before, and has only to be warmed. We continue the march 

Chap. VIII. 



after breakfast, rest a little in the middle of the day, and 
break off early in the afternoon. We average from two to 
two-and-a-half miles an hour in a straight line, or, as the crow 
flies, and seldom have more than five or six hours a day of 
actual travel. This in a hot climate is as much as a man can 
accomplish without being oppressed ; and we always tried to 
make our progress more a pleasure than a toil. To hurry over 
the ground, abuse, and look ferocious at one's native com- 
panions, merely for the foolish vanity of boasting how quickly 
a distance was accomplished, is a combination of silliness 
with absurdity quite odious; while kindly consideration for 
the feelings of even blacks, the pleasure of observing scenery 
and everything new as one moves on at an ordinary pace, 
and the participation in the most delicious rest with our 
fellows, render travelling delightful. Though not given to 
over haste, we were a little surprised to find that we could 
tire our men out ; and even the headman, who carried but 
little more than we did, and never, as we often had to do, 
hunted in the afternoon, was no better than his comrades. 
Our experience tends to prove that the European constitution 
has a power of endurance, even in the tropics, greater than 
that of the hardiest of the meat-eating Africans. 

After pitching our camp,' one or two of us usually go off to 
hunt, more as a matter of necessity than of pleasure, for the 
men, as well as ourselves, must have meat. We prefer to take 
a man with us to carry home the game, or lead the others to 
where it lies ; but as they frequently grumble and complain 
of being tired, we do not particularly object to going alone, 
except that it involves the extra labour of our making 
a second trip to show the men where the animal that has 
been shot is to be found. When it is a couple of miles off 
it is rather fatiguing to have to go twice; more especially 

n 2 



on the days when it is solely to supply their wants that, in- 
stead of resting ourselves, we go at all. Like those who 
perform benevolent deeds at home, the tired hunter, though 
trying hard to live in charity Math all men, is strongly 
tempted to give it up by bringing only sufficient meat for 
the three whites and leaving the rest; thus sending the 
"idle ungrateful poor" supperless to bed. And yet it is 
only by continuance in well-doing, even to the length of 
what the worldly-wise call weakness, that the conviction is 
produced anywhere, that our motives are high enough to 
secure sincere respect. ^ 

The Chicova plains are very fertile, have rich dark soil, and 
formerly supported a numerous population ; but desolating wars 
and slaving had swept away most of the inhabitants. In spite 
of a rank growth of weeds, cotton still remains in the deserted 
gardens of ruined villages. A jungle of mimosa, ebony, and 
" wait-a-bit" thorn lies between the Chicova flats and the cul- 
tivated plain, on which stand the villages of the Chief, Chitora. 
He brought us a present of food and drink, because, as he, with 
the innate politeness of an African, said, he " did not wish us 
to sleep hungry : he had heard of the Doctor when he passed 
down, and had a great desire to see and converse with him ; 
but he was a child then, and could not speak in the presence 
of great men. He was glad that he had seen the English 
now, and was sorry that his people were away, or he should 
have made them cook for us." All his subsequent conduct 
showed him to be sincere. 

Many of the African women are particular about the water 
they use for drinking and cooking, and prefer that which is 
filtered through sand. To secure this, they scrape holes 
in the sandbanks beside the stream, and scoop up the water, 
which slowly filters through, rather than take it from the 

€hap. VIIT. 



equally clear and limpid river. This practice is common in 
the Zambesi, the Kovuma, and Lake Nyassa ; and some of the 
Portuguese at Tette have adopted the native custom, and 
send canoes to a low island in the middle of the river for 
water. Chitora's people also obtained their supply from 
shallow wells in the sandy bed, of a small rivulet close to 
the village. The habit may have arisen from observing the 
unhealthiness of the main stream at certain seasons. During 
nearly nine months in the year, ordure is deposited around 
countless villages along the thousands of miles drained 
by the Zambesi. When the heavy rains come down, and 
sweep the vast fetid accumulation into the torrents, the 
water is polluted with filth; and, but for .the precaution 
mentioned, the natives would prove themselves as little fas- 
tidious as those in London who drink the abomination poured 
into the Thames by Reading and Oxford. It is no wonder 
that sailors suffered so much from fever after drinking African 
river water, before the present admirable system of condensing 
it was adopted in our Navy. 

There must be something in the appearance of white men, 
frightfully repulsive to the unsophisticated natives of Africa ; 
for, on entering villages previously unvisited by Europeans, 
if we met a child coming quietly and unsuspectingly towards 
us, the moment he raised his eyes, and saw the men in " bags," 
he would take to his heels in an agony of terror, such as we 
might feel if we met a live Egyptian mummy at the door 
of the British Museum. Alarmed by the child's wild outcries, 
the mother rushes out of her hut, but darts back again at the 
first glimpse of the same fearful apparition. Dogs turn tail, 
and scour off in dismay ; and hens, abandoning their chickens, 
fly screaming to the tops of the bouses. The so lately 
peaceful village becomes a scene of confusion and hubbub, 



Chap. VIIL 

until calmed by the laughing assurance of our men, that 
white people do not eat black folks ; a joke having often- 
times greater influence in Africa than solemn assertions. 
Some of our young swells, on entering an African village, 
might experience a collapse of self-inflation, at the sight of 
all the pretty girls fleeing from them, as from hideous 
cannibals ; or by witnessing, as we have done, the conversion 
of themselves into public hobgoblins, the mammas holding 
naughty children away from them, and saying "Be good, or 
I shall call the white man to bite you." 

The scent of man is excessively terrible to game of all 
kinds, much more so, probably, than the sight of him. A 
herd of antelopes, a hundred yards off, gazed at us as we 
moved along the winding path, and timidly stood their ground 
until half our line had passed, but darted off the instant they 
" got the wind," or caught the flavour of those who had gone 
by. The sport is all up with the hunter who gets to the 
windward of the African beast, as it cannot stand even 
the distant aroma of the human race, so much dreaded 
by all wild animals. Is this the fear and the dread of man, 
which the Almighty said to Noah was to be upon every 
beast of the field ? A lion may, while lying in wait for his 
prey, leap on a human being as he would on any other animal, 
save a rhinoceros or an elephant, that happened to pass ; or a 
lioness, when she has cubs, might attack a man, who, passing 
" up the wind of her," had unconsciously, by his scent, 
alarmed her for the safety of her whelps ; or buffaloes, and 
other animals, might rush at a line of travellers, in apprehen- 
sion of being surrounded by them ; but neither beast nor snake 
will, as a general rule, turn on man except when wounded, 
or by mistake. If gorillas, unwounded, advance to do battle 
with him, and beat their breasts in defiance, they are an 

Chap. VIIT. 



exception to all wild beasts known to us. From the way 
an elephant runs at the first glance of man, it is inferred 
that this huge brute, though really king of beasts, would run 
even from a child. 

Our two donkeys caused as much admiration as the three 
white men. Great was the astonishment when one of the 
donkeys began to bray. The timid jumped more than if a lion 
had roared beside them. All were startled, and stared in 
mute amazement at the harsh-voiced one, till the last broken 
note was uttered ; then, on being assured that nothing in 
particular was meant, they looked at each other, and burst 
into a loud laugh at their common surprise. When one donkey 
stimulated the other to try his vocal powers, the interest 
felt by the startled visitors, must have equalled that of the 
Londoners, when they first crowded to see the famous 



Chap. IX. 


Seams of coal under Tette grey sandstone — Use of coal unknown to the 
natives — Mbia kills a hippopotamus — Traps and pitfalls — Sagacity of 
elephants at pitfalls — White ants and their galleries — Black soldier-ants 
lord it over the white ants — Language of ants — Biting ants — Eogue 
- monkey respected — Native salt-making — The Mountains — Chikwanitsela 
— Afflictions of beasts — The human buffalo — Mpende — Chilondo — 
Monaheng murdered — Animals which have not been hunted with fire- 
arms — Pangola — A rifle-loving Chief — Undi and fate of African empires — 
Are Africans industrious? — Arrive at Zumbo on the Loangwa on 26ih 
June — Results of no government — Murder of Mpangue — Sequasha. . 

We were now, when we crossed the boundary rivulet Nyama- 
tarara, out of Chicova and amongst sandstone rocks, similar 
to those which prevail between Lupata and Kebrabasa. In 
the latter gorge, as already mentioned, igneous and syenitic 
masses have been acted on by some great fiery convulsion of 
nature ; the strata are thrown into a huddled heap of confu- 
sion. The coal has of course disappeared in Kebrabasa, but 
is found again in Chicova. Tette grey sandstone is common 
about Sinjere, and, wherever it is seen with fossil wood upon 
it, coal lies beneath ; and here, as at Chicova, some seams 
crop out on the banks of the Zambesi. Looking southwards, 
the country is open plain and woodland, with detached hills 
and mountains in the distance ; but the latter are too far off, 
the natives say, for them to know their names. The principal 
hills on our right, as we look up stream, are from six to 
twelve miles away, and occasionally they send down spurs to 
the river, with brooks flowing through their narrow valleys. 

Chap. IX. 



The banks of the Zambesi show two well-defined terraces ; 
the first, or lowest, being usually narrow, and of great fer- 
tilit) T , while the upper one is a dry grassy plain, a thorny 
jungle, or a mopane (Bauhinid) forest. One of these plains, 
near the Kafue, is covered with the large stumps and trunks 
•of a petrified forest. We halted a couple of days by the fine 
stream Sinjere, which comes from the Chiroby-roby hills, 
about eight miles to the north. Many lumps of coal, brought 
down by the rapid current, lie in its channel. The natives 
never seem to have discovered that coal would burn, and, 
when informed of the fact, shook their heads, smiled in- 
credulously, and said " Kodi " (really), evidently regarding 
it as a mere traveller's tale. They were astounded to see it 
burning freely on our fire of wood. They told us that plenty 
of it was seen among the hills ; but, being long ago aware that 
we were now in an immense coalfield, we did not care to 
examine it further. Coal had been discovered to the south 
of this in 1856, and several seams were examined on the stream 
Kevubue, a few miles distant from Tette. This was evidently 
an extension of the same field, but the mineral was more 
bituminous. In an open fire it bubbled up, and gave out 
gas like good domestic coal. 

A dyke of black basaltic rock, called Kakolole, crosses 
the river near the mouth of the Sinjere; but it has two 
open gateways in it of from sixty to eighty yards in breadth, 
and the channel is very deep. 

On a shallow sandbank, under the dyke, lay a herd of 
hippopotami in fancied security. The young ones were play- 
ing with each other like young puppies, climbing on the backs 
of their dams, trying to take hold of one another by the 
jaws, and tumbling over into the water. Mbia, one of the 
Makololo, waded across to within a dozen yards of the drowsy 



Chap. IX. 

beasts, and shot the father of the herd ; who, being very fat, 
soon floated, and was secured at the village below. The 
headman of the Tillage visited us while we were at break- 
fast. He wore a black ife wig and a printed shirt. After 

Group of Hippopotami. 

a short silence he said to Masakasa, "You are with the 
white people, so why do you not tell them to give me a 
cloth?" " We are strangers," answered Masakasa, "why do 
you not bring us some food?" He took the plain hint, and 
brought us two fowls, in order that we should not report that 
in passing him we got nothing to eat ; and, as usual, we 
gave a cloth in return. In reference to the hippopotamus 
he would make no demand, but said he would take what 
we chose to give him. The men gorged themselves with 
meat for two days, and cut large quantities into long narrow 
strips, which they half-dried and half-roasted on wooden 
frames over the fire. Much game is taken in this neighbour- 

Chap. IX, 



hood in pitfalls. Sharp-pointed stakes are set in the bottom, 
on which the game tumbles and gets impaled. The natives 
are careful to warn strangers of these traps, and also 
of the poisoned beams suspended on the tall trees for the 
purpose of killing elephants and hippopotami. It is not 
difficult to detect the pitfalls after one's attention has been 
called to them ; but in places where they are careful to carry 
the earth off to a distance, and a person is not thinking of 
such things, a sudden descent of nine feet is an experience 
not easily forgotten by the traveller. The sensations of one 
thus instantaneously swallowed up by the earth are peculiar. 
A momentary suspension of consciousness is followed by 
the rustling sound of a shower of sand and dry grass, and 
the half-bewildered thought of where he is, and how he 
came into darkness. Eeason awakes to assure him that he 
must have come down through that small opening of day- 
light overhead, and that he is now where a hippopotamus 
ought to have been. The descent of a hippopotamus pitfall is 
easy, like that of Avernus, but to get out again into the 
upper air is a work of labour. The sides are smooth and 
treacherous, and the cross reeds, which support the covering, 
break in the attempt to get out by clutching them. A cry 
from the depths is unheard by those around, and it is only by 
repeated and most desperate efforts that the buried alive can 
regain the upper world. At Tette we were told of a white 
hunter, of unusually small stature, who plumped into a pit 
while stalking a guinea-fowl on a tree. It was the labour 
of an entire forenoon to get out; and he was congratulat- 
ing himself on his escape, and brushing off the clay from 
his clothes, when clown he went into a second pit, which 
happened, as is often the case, to be close beside the first, 
and it was evening before he could work himself out of that. 



Chap. IX. 

Elephants and buffaloes seldom return to the river by the 
same path on two successive nights, they become so appre- 
hensive of danger from this human art. An old elephant 
will walk in advance of the herd, and uncover the pits with 
his trunk, that the others may see the openings and tread 
on firm ground. Female elephants are generally the victims : 
more timid by nature than the males, and very motherly 
in their anxiety for their calves, they carry their trunks up, 
trying every breeze for fancied danger, which often in reality 
lies at their feet. The tusker, fearing less, keeps his trunk 
down, and, warned in time by that exquisitely sensitive 
organ, takes heed to his ways. 

Our camp on the Sinjere stood under a wide-spreading wild 
fig-tree. From the numbers of this family, of large size, 
dotted over the country, the fig or banyan species would seem 
to have been held sacred in Africa from the remotest times. 
The soil teemed with white ants, whose clay tunnels, formed 

Tunnels of Ants. 

Chap. IX. 



to screen them from the eyes of birds, thread over the 
ground, up the trunks of trees and along the branches, from 
which the little architects clear away all rotten or dead 
wood. Yery often the exact shape of branches is left in 
tunnels on the ground and not a bit of the wood inside. 
The first night we passed here these destructive in sects ate 
through our grass-beds, and attacked our blankets, and certain 
large red-headed ones even bit our flesh* 

On some days not a single white ant is to be seen 
abroad ; and on others, and during certain hours, they appear 
out of doors in myriads, and work with extraordinary zeal and 
energy in carrying bits of dried grass down into their nests. 
During these busy reaping-fits, the lizards and birds have 
a good time of it, and enjoy a rich feast at the expense of 
thousands of hapless workmen ; and, when they swarm, they 
are caught in countless numbers by the natives, and their 
roasted bodies are spoken of in an unctuous manner as 
resembling grains of soft rice fried in delicious fresh oil. 

A strong marauding party of large black ants attacked a 
nest of white ones near the camp : as the contest took place 
beneath the surface, we could not see the order of the battle ; 
but it soon became apparent that the blacks had gained the 
day, and sacked the white town, for they returned in triumph, 
bearing off the eggs, and choice bits of the bodies of the van- 
quished. A gift, analogous to that of language, has not been 
withheld from ants : if part of their building is destroyed, an 
official is seen coming out to examine the damage ; and, after 
a careful survey of the ruins, he chirrups a few clear and dis- 
tinct notes, and a crowd of workers begin at once to repair 
the breach. When the work is completed, another order is 
given, and the workmen retire, as will appear on removing the 
soft freshly-built portion. We tried to sleep one rainy night 



Chap. IX. 

in a native hut, but could not because of attacks by the 
fighting battalions of a very small species of formica, not 
more than one-sixteenth of an inch in length. It soon 
became obvious that they were under regular discipline, 
and even attempting to carry out the skilful plans and 
stratagems of some eminent leader. Our hands and necks 
were the first objects of attack. Large bodies of these little 
pests were massed in silence round the point to be assaulted. 
We could hear the sharp shrill word of command two or three 
times repeated, though, until then, we had not believed in 
the vocal power of an ant ; the instant after we felt the storm- 
ing hosts range over head and neck, biting the tender skin, 
clinging with a death-grip to the hair, and parting with their 
jaws, rather than quit their hold. On our lying down again in 
the hope of their having been driven off, no sooner was the 
light out, and all still, than the manoeuvre was repeated. 
Clear and audible orders were issued, and the assault 
renewed. It was as hard to sleep in that hut, as in the 
trenches before Sebastopol. The white ant, being a vege- 
table feeder, devours articles of vegetable origin only, 
and leather, which, by tanning, is imbued with a vegetable 
flavour. " A man may be rich to-day and poor to- 
morrow, from the ravages of white ants," said a Portuguese 
merchant. "If he gets sick, and unable to look after his 
goods, his slaves neglect them, and they are soon destroyed 
by these insects." The reddish ant, in the west called drivers, 
crossed our path daily, in solid columns an inch wide, and 
never did the pugnacity of either man or beast exceed theirs. 
It is a sufficient cause of war if you only approach them, 
even by accident. Some turn out of the ranks and stand 
with open mandibles, or, charging with extended jaws, bite 
with savage ferocity. When hunting, we lighted among them 

Chap. IX. 



too often ; while we were intent on the game, and with- 
out a thought of ants, they quietly covered us from head 
to foot, then all began to bite at the same instant ; seizing 
a piece of the skin with their powerful pincers, they twisted 
themselves round with it, as if determined to tear it out. 
Their bites are so terribly sharp that the bravest must run, 
and then strip to pick off those that still cling with their 
hooked jaws, as with steel forceps. This kind abounds in 
damp places, and is usually met with on the banks of 
streams. We have not heard of their actually killing any 
animal except the Python, and that only when gorged 
and quite lethargic, but they soon clear away any dead 
animal matter ; this appears to be their principal food, 
and their use in the economy of nature is clearly in the 
scavenger line. 

We started from the Sinjere on the 12th of June, our 
men carrying with them bundles of hippopotamus meat 
for sale, and for future use. We rested for breakfast 
opposite the Kakolole dyke, which confines the channel, 
west of the Manyerere mountain. A rogue monkey, the 
largest by far that we ever saw, and very fat and tame, 
walked off leisurely from a garden as we approached. The 
monkey is a sacred animal in this region, and is* never 
molested or killed, because the people believe devoutly that 
the souls of their ancestors now occupy these degraded forms, 
and anticipate that they themselves must, sooner or later, be 
transformed in like manner; a future as cheerless for the 
black, as the spirit-rapper's heaven is for the whites. The 
gardens are separated from each other by a single row of 
small stones, a few handfuls of grass, or a slight furrow made 
by the hoe. Some are enclosed by a reed fence of the 
flimsiest construction, yet sufficient to keep out the ever wary 



Chap. IX. 

hippopotamus, who dreads a trap. His extreme caution is 
taken advantage of by the women, who hang, as a minia- 
ture trap-beam, a kigelia fruit with a bit of stick in 
the end. This protects the maize, of which he is excessively 

The women are accustomed to transact business for them- 
selves. They accompany the men into camp, sell their own 
wares, and appear to be both fair traders, and modest sensible 
persons. Elsewhere they bring things for sale on their heads,, 
and, kneeling at a respectful distance, wait till their husbands 
or fathers, who have gone forward, choose to return, and to 
take their goods, and barter for them. Perhaps in this parti- 
cular, the women here occupy the golden mean between the 
Manganja hill-tribes and the Jaggas of the north, who live on 
the mountain summits near Kilimanjaro. It is said that at 
the latter place the women do all the trading, have regular 
markets, and will on no account allow a man to enter the 

The quantity of hippopotamus meat eaten by our men 
made some of them ill, and our marches were necessarilv 
short. After three hours' travel on the 13th, we spent the 
remainder of the day at the village of Chasiribera, on a 
rivulet flowing through a beautiful valley to the north, which 
is bounded by magnificent mountain-ranges. Pinkwe, or 
Mbingwe, otherwise Moeu, forms the south-eastern angle 
of the range. On the 16th June we w r ere at the flourish- 
ing village of Senga, under the headman Manyame, which 
lies at the foot of the mount Motemwa. Nearly all 
the mountains in this country are covered with open 
forest and grass, in colour, according to the season, green 
or yellow. Many are between 2000 and 3000 feet high, with 
the sky line fringed with trees ; the rocks show just sum- 

Chap. IX. 



ciently for one to observe their stratification, or their granitic 
form, and though not covered with dense masses of climbing 
plants, like those in moister eastern climates, there is still 
the idea conveyed that most of the steep sides are fertile, 
and none give the impression of that barrenness which, in 
northern mountains, suggests the idea, that the bones of 
the world are sticking through its skin. 

The villagers reported that we were on the footsteps of 
a Portuguese half-caste, who, at Senga, lately tried to 
purchase ivory, but, in consequence of his having mur- 
dered a Chief near Zumbo and twenty . of his men, the 
people declined to trade with him. He threatened to 
take the ivory by force, if they would not sell it ; but that 
same night the ivory and the women were spirited out of 
the village, and only a large body of armed men remained. 
The trader, fearing that he might come off second best if it 
came to blows, immediately departed. Chikwanitsela, or Se- 
kuanangila is the paramount Chief of some fifty miles of the 
northern bank of the Zambesi in this locality. He lives on 
the opposite, or southern side, and there his territory is still 
more extensive. We sent him a present from Senga, and were 
informed by a messenger next morning that he had a cough 
and could not come over to see us. "And has his present a 
cough too," remarked one of our party, " that it does not come 
to us ? Is this the way your Chief treats strangers, receives 
their present, and sends them no food in return ? " Our 
men thought Chikwanitsela an uncommonly stingy fellow ; 
but, as it was possible that some of them might yet wish 
to return this way, they did not like to scold him more 
than this, which was sufficiently to the point. 

Men and women were busily engaged in preparing the 
ground for the November planting. Large game was abun- 




Chap. IX. 

dant ; herds of elephants and buffaloes came down to the river 
in the night, but were a long way off by daylight. They soon 
adopt this habit in places where they are hunted. 

The plains we travel over are constantly varying in 
breadth, according as the farrowed and wooded hills approach 
or recede from the river. On the southern side we see the 
hill Bungwe, and the long, level, wooded ridge Nyangombe, 
the first of a series bending from the S. E. to the N.W. past 
the Zambesi. We shot an old pallah on the 16th, and 
found that the poor animal had been visited with more 
than the usual share of animal afflictions. He was stone- 
blind hi both eyes, had several tumours, and a broken 
leg, which showed no symptoms of ever having begun to 
heal. Wild animals sometimes suffer a great deal from 
disease, and wearily drag on a miserable existence before 
relieved of it bv some ravenous beast. Once we drove off 
a maneless lion and lioness from a dead buffalo, which had 
been in the last stage of a decline, They had watched him 
staggering to the river to quench his thirst, and sprang 
on him as he was crawling up the bank. One had caught him 
by the throat, and the other by his high projecting backbone, 
which was broken by the lion's powerful fangs. The struggle, 
if any, must have been short. They had only eaten the 
intestines when we frightened them off. It is curious that this 
is the part that wild animals always begin with, and that 
it is also the first choice of our men. Were it not a wise 
arrangement that only the strongest males should continue 
the breed, one could hardly help pitying the solitary buffalo 
expelled from the herd for some physical blemish, or on account 
of the weakness of approaching old age. Banished from the 
softening influences of female society, he naturally becomes 
morose and savage ; the necessary watchfulness against enemies 

Chap. IX. 



is now never shared by others ; disgusted, he passes into a state 
of chronic war with all who enjoy life, and the sooner after his 
expulsion that he fills the lion's or the wild-dog's rnaw, the 
better for himself and for the peace of the country. Though 
we are not disposed to be didactic, the idea of a crusty old 
bachelor or of a cantankerous husband will rise up in our 
minds; to this human buffalo, at whose approach wife and 
children, or poor relations, hold their breath with awe, we 
cannot extend one grain of pity ; because it is not infirmity 
of temper this brute can plead, seeing that, when in the herd 
with his equals, he is invariably polite, arid only exercises his 
tyranny when with those who cannot thrash him into decency. 

We encamped on the 20th of June at a spot, where Dr. 
Livingstone, on his journey from the West to the East Coast, 
was formerly menaced by a Chief named Mpende. No offence 
had been committed against him, but he had firearms, and, with 
the express object of showing his po\ver, he threatened to attack 
the strangers. Mpende's counsellors having, however, found 
out that Dr. Livingstone belonged to a tribe of whom they 
had heard that " they loved the black man and did not make 
slaves," his conduct at once changed from enmity to kindness, 
and, as the place was one well selected for defence, it was per- 
haps quite as well for Mpende that he decided as he did. 
Three of his counsellors now visited us, and we gave them 
a handsome present for their Chief, who came himself next 
morning and made us a present of a goat, a basket of boiled 
maize, and another of vetches. A few miles above this, the 
headman, Chilondo of Nyamasusa, apologized for not formerly 
lending us canoes. " He was absent, and his children were to 
blame for not telling him when the Doctor passed ; he did not 
refuse the canoes." The sight of our men, new armed with 
muskets, had a great effect. Without any bullying, firearms 

o 2 



Chap. IX. 

commancT respect, and lead men to be reasonable who might 
otherwise feel disposed to be troublesome. Nothing, however, 
our fracas with Mpende excepted, could be more peaceful 
than our passage through this tract of country in 1856. We 
then had nothing to excite the cupidity of the people, and the 
men maintained themselves, either by selling elephant's meat, 
or by exhibiting feats of foreign dancing. Most of the people 
were very generous and friendly ; but the Banyai, nearer to 
Tette than this, stopped our march with a threatening war- 
dance. One of our party, terrified at this, ran away, as 
we thought, insane, and could not, after a painful search 
of three days, be found. The Banyai, evidently touched 
by our distress, allowed us to proceed. Through a man we 
left on an island a little below Mpende's, we subsequently 
learned that poor Monaheng had fled thither and had been 
murdered by the headman for no reason except that he was 
defenceless. This headman had since become odious to his 
countrymen, and had been put to death by them. 

Our path leads frequently through vast expanses of 
apparently solitary scenery ; a strange stillness pervades the 
air ; no sound is heard from bird or beast or living thing ; no 
village is near ; the air is still, and earth and sky have sunk 
into a deep, sultry repose, and like a lonely ship on the de- 
sert sea is the long winding line of weary travellers on the 
hot, glaring plain. We discover that we are not alone in the 
wilderness ; other living forms are round about us, with curious 
eyes on all our movements. As we enter a piece of wood- 
land, an unexpected herd of pallahs, or waterbucks, suddenly 
appears, standing as quiet and still, as if constituting a part 
of the landscape ; or, we pass a clump of thick thorns, and 
see through the bushes the dim phantom-like forms of buffaloes, 
their heads lowered, gazing at us with fierce untameable 

Chap. IX. 



eyes. Again a sharp turn brings us upon a native, who has 
seen us from afar, and comes with noiseless footsteps to get 
a nearer view. 

On the 23rd of June we entered Pangola's principal village, 
which is upwards of a mile from the river. The ruins of a mud 
wall showed that a rude attempt had been made to imitate 
the Portuguese style of building. We established ourselves 
under a stately wild fig-tree, round whose trunk witchcraft 
medicine had been tied, to protect from thieves the honey of 
the wild bees, which had their hive in one of the limbs. 
This is a common device. The charm, or the medicine, is 
purchased of the dice doctors, and consists of a strip of palm- 
leaf smeared with something, and adorned with a few bits of 
grass, wood, or roots. It is tied round the tree, and is believed to 
have the power of inflicting disease and death on the thief who 
climbs over it. Superstition is thus not without its uses in 
certain states of society ; it prevents many crimes and 
misdemeanors, which would occur, but for the salutary fear 
that it produces. 

Pangola arrived, tipsy and talkative. — " We are friends, we 
are great friends ; I have brought you a basket of green maize 
— here it is ! " We thanked him, and handed him two fathoms 
of cotton cloth, four tim es the market- value of his present. No, 
he would not take so small a present ; he wanted a double- 
barrelled rifle — one of Dixon's best. "We are friends, you 
know ; we are all friends together." But although we were will- 
ing to admit that, we could not give him our best rifle, so he 
went off in high dudgeon. Early next morning, as we were 
commencing Divine service, Pangola returned, sober. We 
explained to him that we wished to worship God, and invited 
him to remain ; he seemed frightened and retired : but after 
service he again importuned us for the rifle. It was of no use 



Chap. IX. 

telling him that we had a long journey before us, and needed 
it to kill game for ourselves. — u He too must obtain meat for 
himself and people, for they sometimes suffered from hunger." 
He then got sulky, and his people refused to sell food except 
at extravagant prices. Knowing that we had nothing to eat, 
they felt sure of starving us into compliance. But two of our 
young men, having gone off at sunrise, shot a fine waterbuck, 
and down came the provision market to the lowest figure ; 
they even became eager to sell, but our men were angry with 
them for trying compulsion, and would not buy. Black greed 
had outwitted itself, as happens often with white cupidity ; and 
not only here did the traits of Africans remind us of Anglo- 
Saxons elsewhere : the notoriously ready world-wide dispo- 
sition to take an unfair advantage of a man's necessities 
shows that the same mean motives are pretty widely dif- 
fused among all races. It may not be granted that the same 
blood flows in all veins, or that all have descended from the 
same stock ; but the traveller has no doubt that, practically, 
the white rogue and black are men and brothers. 

Pangola is the child or vassal of Mpende. Sandia and 
Mpencle are the only independent chiefs from Kebrabasa to 
Zumbo, and belong to the tribe Manganja. The country 
north of the mountains here in sight from the Zambesi is 
called Senga, and its inhabitants Asenga, or Basenga, but all 
appear to be of the same family as the rest of the Man- 
ganja and Maravi. Formerly all the Manganja were 
united under the government of their great Chief, Undi, 
whose Empire extended from Lake Shirwa to the Kiver 
Loangwa ; but after Undi's death it fell to pieces, and a 
large portion of it on the Zambesi was absorbed by their 
powerful southern neighbours the Banyai. This has been 
the inevitable fate of every African Empire from time imme- 

Chap. IX. 



inorial. A Chief of more than ordinary ability arises and, 
subduing all his less powerful neighbours, founds a 
kingdom, which he governs more or less wisely till he dies. 
His successor not having the talents of the conqueror cannot 
retain the dominion, and some of the abler under-chiefs set up 
for themselves, and, in a few years, the remembrance only of 
the Empire remains. This, which may be considered as the 
normal state of African society, gives rise to frequent end 
desolating wars, and the people long in vain for a power able 
to make all dwell in peace. In this light, a European colony 
would be considered by the natives as an inestimable boon to 
intertropical Africa. Thousands of industrious natives would 
gladly settle round it, and engage in that peaceful pursuit of 
agriculture and trade of which they are so fond, and, undis- 
tracted by wars or rumours of wars, might listen to the 
purifying and ennobling truths of the Grospel of Jesus Christ. 
The Manganja on the Zambesi, like their countrymen on 
the Shire, are fond of agriculture ; and, in addition to the 
usual varieties of food, cultivate tobacco and cotton in 
quantities more than equal to their wants. To the 
question, " Would they work for Europeans ? " an affirmative 
answer may be given, if the Europeans belong to the class 
which can pay a reasonable price for labour, and not to that of 
adventurers who want employment for themselves. All were 
particularly well clothed from Sanclia's to Pangola's ; and it 
was noticed that all the cloth was of native manufacture, the 
product of their own looms. In Senga a great deal of iron 
is obtained from the ore and manufactured very cleverly. 

As is customary when a party of armed strangers visits the 
village, Pangola took the precaution of sleeping in one of 
the outlying hamlets. No one ever knows, or at any rate 
will tell, where the Chief sleeps. He came not next morn- 



Chap. IX. 

ing, so we went on our way ; but in a few moments we saw 
the rifle-loving Chief approaching with some armed men. 
Before meeting us, he left the path and drew up his " follow- 
ing" under a tree, expecting us to halt, and give him a 
chance of bothering us again ; but, having already had 
enough of that, we held right on: he seemed dumb- 
foundered, and could hardly believe his own eyes. For a few 
seconds he was speechless, but at last recovered so far as to 
be able to say, " You are passing Pangola. Do not you see 
Pangola?" Mbia was just going by at the time with the 
donkey, and, proud of every opportunity of airing his small 
stock of English, shouted in reply, "All right! then get 
on." " Click, click, click." This fellow, Pangola, would 
have annoyed and harassed a trader until his unrea- 
sonable demands were complied with. 

On the 26th June we breakfasted at Zumbo, on the left bank 
of the Loangwa, near the ruins of some ancient Portuguese 
houses. The Loangwa was too deep to be forded, and there were 
no canoes on our side. Seeing two small ones on the opposite 
shore, near a few recently-erected huts of two half-castes from 
Tette, we halted for the ferry-men to come over. From their 
movements it was evident that they were in a state of 
rollicking drunkenness. Having a waterproof cloak, which 
could be inflated into a tiny boat, we sent Mantlanyane across 
in it. Three half-intoxicated slaves then brought us the shaky 
canoes, which we lashed together and manned with our own 
canoe-men. Five men were all that we could carry over at 
a time; and after four trips had been made the slaves 
began to clamour for drink ; not receiving any, as we had 
none to give, they grew more insolent, and declared 
that not another man should cross that day. Sininyane was 
remonstrating with them, when a loaded musket was pre- 

Chap. IX. 



sentecl at him by one of the trio. In an instant the gun was 
out of the rascal's hands, a rattling shower of blows fell on 
his back, and he took an involuntary header into the river. He 
crawled up the bank a sad and sober man, and all three at once 
tumbled from the height of saucy swagger to a low depth of 
slavish abjectness. The musket was found to have an enormous 
charge, and might have blown our man to pieces, but for the 
promptitude with which his companions administered justice 
in a lawless land. We were all ferried safely across by 
8 o'clock in the evening. 

In illustration of what takes place where no govern- 
ment, or law exists, the two half-castes, to whom these men 
belonged, left Tette, with four hundred slaves, armed with 
the old Sepoy Brown Bess, to hunt elephants and trade 
in ivory. On our way up, we heard from natives of their 
lawless deeds, and again, on our way down, from several, 
who had been eyewitnesses of the principal crime, and all 
reports substantially agreed. The story is a sad one. After 
the traders reached Zumbo, one of them, called by the natives 
Sequasha, entered into a plot with the disaffected headman, 
Namakusuru, to kill his Chief, Mpangwe, in order that Nama- 
kusuru might seize upon the chieftainship ; and for the murder 
of Mpangwe, the trader agreed to receive ten large tusks of 
ivory. Sequasha, with a picked party of armed slaves, went 
to visit Mpangwe, who received him kindly, and treated him 
with all the honour and hospitality usually shown to distin- 
guished strangers, and the women busied themselves in cook- 
ing the best of their provisions for the repast to be set before 
him. Of this, and also of the beer, the half-caste partook 
heartily. Mpangwe was then asked by Sequasha to allow his 
men to fire their guns in amusement. Innocent of any suspi- 
cion of treachery, and anxious to hear the report of firearms, 



Chap. IX. 

Mpangwe at once gave his consent ; and the slaves rose and 
poured a murderous volley into the merry group of unsuspect- 
ing spectators, instantly killing the chief and twenty of his 
people. The survivors fled in horror. The children and young 
women were seized as slaves, and the village sacked. Sequasha 
sent the message to Namakusuru : "I have killed the lion 
that troubled you, come and let us talk over the matter." He 
came, and brought the ivory ; " No," said the half-caste, 
" let us divide the land :" and he took the larger share for 
himself, and compelled the would-be usurper to deliver up 
his bracelets, in token of subjection on becoming the child 
or vassal of Sequasha. These were sent in triumph to the 
authorities at Tette. The Governor of Quillimane had told 
us that he had received orders from Lisbon to take advantage 
of our passing to re-establish Zumbo ; and, accordingly, these 
traders had built a small stockade on the rich plain of the 
right bank of Loangwa, a mile above the site of the ancient 
mission church of Zumbo, as part of the royal policy. The 
bloodshed was quite unnecessary, because, the land at Zumbo 
having of old been purchased, the natives would have always 
of their own accord acknowledged the right thus acquired ; 
they pointed it out to Dr. Livingstone in 1856 that, though 
they were cultivating it, it was not theirs, but white man's 
land. Sequasha and his mate had left their ivory in charge of 
some of their slaves, who, in the absence of their masters, 
were now having a gay time of it, and getting drunk every 
day with the produce of the sacked villages. The head slave 
came and begged for the musket of the delinquent ferry- 
man, which was returned. He thought his master did per- 
fectly right to kill Mpangwe, when asked to do it for the fee 
of ten tusks, and he even justified it thus : " If a man invites 
you to eat, will you not partake ? " 

Chap. X. 




Beautiful situation of Zumbo — Church in ruins — Why have the Catholic 
Missions failed to perpetuate the Faith? — Ma-mbururna — Anti-slavery 
principles, a recommendation — Jujubes — Tsetse — Dr. Kirk dangerously 
ill in the mountain forest — Our men's feats of hunting — Hyenas — 
Honey-guides — Instinct of, how to be accounted for, self-interest or friend- 
ship? — A serpent — Mpangwe's village deserted — Large game abundant 

— Difference of flavour in — Sights seen in marching — "Smokes" from 
grass-burnings ■ — River Chongwe — Bazizulu and their superior cotton — 
Escape from rhinoceros — The wild dog — Families flitting — Tombanyama 

— Confluence of the Kafue. 

We remained a day by the ruins of Zuinbo. The early 
traders, guided probably by Jesuit missionaries, must have 
been men of taste and sagacity. They selected for their 
village the most charmingly picturesque site in the country, 
and had reason to hope that it would soon be enriched by the 
lucrative trade of the rivers Zambesi taid Loangwa pouring 
into it from north and west, and by the gold and ivory of the 
Manica country on the south. The Portuguese of the present 
day have certainly reason to be proud of the enterprise of their 
ancestors. If ever in the Elysian fields the conversation of 
these ancient and honourable men, who dared so much for 
Christianity, turns on their African descendants, it will be 
difficult for them to reciprocate the feeling. The chapel, near 
which lies a broken church bell, commands a glorious view 
of the two noble rivers, — the green fields — the undulating 
forest — the pleasant hills, and the magnificent moun tains in 
the distance. It is an utter ruin now, and desolation broods 
around. The wild bird, disturbed by the unwonted sound 


of approaching footsteps, rises with a harsh scream. Thorn- 
bushes, marked with the ravages of white ants, rank grass 
with prickly barbed seeds, and noxious weeds, overrun the 
whole place. The foul hyena has defiled the sanctuary, 
and the midnight-owl has perched on its crumbling walls, to 
disgorge the undigested remnant of its prey. One can 
scarcely look without feelings of sadness on the utter desola- 
tion of a place where men have met to worship the Supreme 
Being, or have united in uttering the magnificent words, 
" Thou art the King of glory, 0 Christ I " and remember, that 
the natives of this part know nothing of His religion, not even 
His name ; a strange superstition makes them shun this 
sacred place, as men do the pestilence, and they never come 
near it. Apart from the ruins, there is nothing to remind one 
that a Christian power ever had traders here ; for the natives 
of to-day are precisely what their fathers were, when the 
Portuguese first rounded the Cape. Their language, unless 
buried in the Vatican, is still unwritten. Not a single art, 
save that of distilling spirits by means of a gun-barrel, has 
ever been learnt from the strangers ; and, if all the progeny 
of the whites were at once to leave the country, their only 
memorial would be the ruins of a few stone and mud-built 
•walls, and that blighting relic of the slave-trade, the belief 
that man may sell his brother man ; a belief which is not 
of native origin, for it is not found except in the track of 
the Portuguese. 

Since the early Missionaries were not wanting in either 
wisdom or enterprise, it would be intensely interesting to 
know the exact cause of their failing to perpetuate their 
Faith. Our observation of the operations of the systems, 
whether of native or of European origin, which sanction 
slavery, tends to prove that they only perpetuate barbarism. 

Chap. X. 



Raids like that of Sequasha, — also of Simoens, who carried his 
foray up the river as far as Kariba, — and many others, have 
exactly the same effect as the normal native policy already 
mentioned : one tract of country is devastated after another, 
and the slave-hunter attains great wealth and influence. 
Pereira, the founder of Zumbo, gloried in being called " the 
Terror." If the scourge is not fleeced by some needy Governor, 
his wealth is usually scattered to the winds by the children 
of mixed breed who succeed him. Can it be that the Mis- 
sionaries of old, like many good men formerly among ourselves, 
tolerated this system of slave-making, which inevitably leads 
to warfare, and thus failed to obtain influence over the 
natives by not introducing another policy than that which 
had prevailed for ages before they came ? 

We continued our journey on the 28th of June. Game 
was extremely abundant, and there were many lions. Mbia 
drove one off from his feast on a wild pig, and appropriated 
what remained of the pork to his own use. Lions are 
particularly fond of the flesh of wild pigs and zebras, and 
contrive to kill a large number of these animals. In the 
afternoon we arrived at the village of the female Chief, 
Ma-mburuma, but she herself was now living on the oppo- 
site side of the river. Some of her people called, and said 
she had been frightened by seeing her son and other 
children killed by Sequasha, and had fled to the other bank * 
but when her heart was healed, she w r ould return and live 
in her own village, and among her own people. She con- 
stantly inquired of the black traders, who came up the river, 
if they had any news of the white man who passed with the 
oxen. " He has gone down into the sea," was their reply, 
" but we belong to the same people." " Oh, no ; you need 
not tell me that ; he takes no slaves, but wishes peace : you 

206 JUJUBE— TSETSE. Chap. X. 

are not of his tribe." This anti-slavery character excites such 
universal attention, that any Missionary, who winked at the 
gigantic evils involved»in the slave-trade, would certainly fail 
to produce any good impression on the native mind. 

We left the river here, and proceeded up the valley which 
leads to the Mburuma or Mohango pass. The nights were 
cold, and on the 30th of June the thermometer was as low 
as 39° at sunrise. We passed through a village of twenty 
large huts, which Sequasha had attacked on his return 
from the murder of the Chief, Mpangwe. He caught the 
women and children for slaves, and carried off all the food, 
except a huge basket of bran, which the natives are wont to 
save against a time of famine. His slaves had broken all the 
water-pots and the millstones for grinding meal. 

The buaze-trees and bamboos are now seen on the hills ; 
but the jujube or zisyphus, which has evidently been intro- 
duced from India, extends no further up the river. We 
had been eating this fruit, which, having somewhat the 
taste of apples, the Portuguese call Macaas, all the way from 
Tette ; and here they were larger than usual, though imme- 
diately beyond they ceased to be found. No mango- tree either 
is to be met with beyond this point, because the Portuguese 
traders never established themselves anywhere beyond 
Zumbo/^ Tsetse fl ies are more numerous and troublesome than 


we have ever before found them. They accompany us on the 
march, often buzzing round our heads like a swarm of bees. 
They are very cunning, and when intending to bite, alight 
so gently that their presence is not perceived till they thrust 
in their lance-like proboscis. The bite is acute, but the pain 
is over in a moment; it is followed by a little of the dis- 
agreeable itching of the musquito's bite. This fly invariably 
kills all domestic animals except goats and donkeys ; man and 

Chap. X. 



the wild animals escape. We ourselves were severely bitten 
on this pass, and so were our donkeys, but neither suffered from 

any after effects. 

Water is scarce in the Mburuma pass, except during the 
rainy season. We however halted beside some fine springs in 
the bed of the now dry rivulet, Podebode, which is continued 
down to the end of the pass, and yields water at intervals in 
pools. Here we remained a couple of days in consequence 
of the severe illness of Dr. Kirk. He had several times been 
attacked by fever ; and observed that when we were on the 
cool heights he was comfortable, but when we happened to 
descend from a high to a lower altitude, he felt chilly, though 
the temperature in the latter case was 25° higher than it was 
above ; he had been trying different medicines of reputed 
efficacy with a view to ascertain whether other combinations 
might not be superior to the preparation we generally used ; 
in halting by this water, he suddenly became blind, and un- 
able to stand from faintness. The men, with great alacrity, 
prepared a grassy bed, on which we laid our companion, 
with the sad forebodings which only those who have tended 
the sick in a wild country can realize. We feared that 
in experimenting he had overdrugged himself ; but we gave 
him a dose of our fever pills ; on the third day he rode the one 
of the two donkeys that would allow itself to be mounted, 
and on the sixth he marched as well as any of us. This case 
is mentioned in order to illustrate what we have often 
observed, that moving the patient from place to place is most 
conducive to the cure; and the more pluck a man has — the 
less he gives in to the disease — the less likely he is to die. 

Supplied with water by the pools in the Podebode, we again 
joined the Zambesi at the confluence of the rivulet. When 
passing through a dry district the native hunter knows where to 


expect water by the animals he sees. The presence of the 
geinsbuck, duiker or diver, springbucks, or elephants, is no 
proof that water is near ; for these animals roam over vast tracts 
of country, and may be met scores of miles from it. Not so, 
however, the zebra, pallah, buffalo, and rhinoceros ; their spoor 
gives assurance that water is not far off, as they never stray 
any distance from its neighbourhood. But when amidst 
the solemn stillness of the woods, the singing of joyous 
birds falls upon the ear, it is certain that water is close at 
hand. While waiting here, under a great tamarind-tree, we 
heard many new and pleasant songs from strange little birds, 
with the love-notes of pigeons, in the trees overhanging these 
living springs. 

Our men in hunting came on an immense herd of buffa- 
loes, quietly resting in the long dry grass, and began to 
blaze away furiously at the astonished animals. In the 
wild excitement of the hunt, which heretofore had been 
conducted with spears, some forgot to load with ball, and, 
firing away vigorously with powder only, wondered for the 
moment that the buffaloes did not fall. The slayer of the 
young elephant, having buried his four bullets in as many 
buffaloes, fired three charges of number 1 shot he had for 
killing guinea-fowl. The quaint remarks and merriment 
after these little adventures seemed to the listener like 
the pleasant prattle of children. Mbia and Mantlanyane, 
however, killed one buffalo each ; both the beasts were in prime 
condition; the meat was like really excellent beef, with a 
smack of venison. A troop of hungry, howling hyenas also 
thought the savour tempting, as they hung round the camp 
at night, anxious to partake of the feast. They are, fortu- 
nately, arrant cowards, and never attack either men or beasts, 
except they can catch them asleep, sick, or at some other 

Chap. X. 



disadvantage. With a bright fire at our feet their presence 
excites no uneasiness. A piece of meat hung on a tree, high 
enough to make him jump to reach it, and a short spear, 
with its handle firmly planted in the ground beneath, are 
used as a device to induce the hyena to commit suicide by 

The honey-guide is an extraordinary bird ; how is it 
that every member of its family has learned that all 
men, white or black, are fond of honey? The instant the 
little fellow gets a glimpse of a man, he hastens to greet him 
with the hearty invitation to come, as Mbia translated it, to 
a bees' hive, and take some honey. He flies on in the 
proper direction, perches on a tree, and looks back to see if 
you are following ; then on to another and another, until he 
guides you to the spot. If you do not accept his first 
invitation he follows you with pressing importunities, quite 
as anxious to lure the stranger to the bees' hive as other 
birds are to draw him away from their own nests. Except while 
on the march, our men were sure to accept the invitation, 
and manifested the same by a peculiar responsive whistle, 
meaning, as they said, "All right, go ahead; we are coming." 
The bird never deceived them, but always guided them to a hive 
of bees, though some had but little honey in store. Has this 
peculiar habit of the honey-guide its origin, as the attachment 
of dogs, in friendship for man, or in love for the sweet pickings 
of the plunder left on the ground ? Self-interest aiding in pre- 
servation from danger seems to be the rule in most cases, as, 
for instance, in the bird that guards the buffalo and rhinoceros. 
The grass is often so tall and dense that one could go close up 
to these animals quite unperceived ; but the guardian bird, 
sitting on the beast, sees the approach of clanger, flaps its wings 
and screams, which causes its bulky charge to rush off from a 




foe lie lias neither seen nor heard ; for his reward the vigilant 
little watcher has the pick of the parasites of his fat friend. 
In other cases a chance of escape must be given even by the 
animal itself to its prey ; as in the rattle-snake, which, when 
excited to strike, cannot avoid using his rattle, any more than 
the cat can resist curling its tail when excited in the chase of 
a mouse, or the cobra can refrain from inflating the loose skin 
of the neck and extending it laterally, before striking its 
poison fangs into its victim. There were many snakes 
in parts of this pass ; they basked in the warm sunshine, but 
rustled off through the leaves as we approached. We ob- 
served one morning a small one of a deadly poisonous species, 
named Kakone, on a bush by the way-side, quietly resting 
in a horizontal position, digesting a lizard for breakfast. 
Though openly in view, its colours and curves so closely 
resembled a small branch that some failed to see it, even 
after being asked if they perceived anything on the bush. 
Here also one of our number had a glance at another species, 
rarely seen, and whose swift lightning-like motion has given 
rise to the native proverb, that when a man sees this snake 
he will forthwith become a rich man. 

We slept near the ruined village of the murdered chief, 
Mpangwe, a lovely spot, with the Zambesi in front, and exten- 
sive gardens behind, backed by a semicircle of hills, receding up 
to lofty mountains. Our path kept these mountains on our 
right, and crossed several streamlets, which seemed to be 
perennial, and among others the Selole, which apparently 
flows past the prominent peak Chiarapela. These rivulets 
have often human dwellings on their banks; but the land 
can scarcely be said to be occupied. The number of all 
sorts of game increases wonderfully every day. As a speci- 
men of what may be met with where there are no human 


habitations, and where no firearms have been introduced, 
we may mention what at times has actually been seen 
by us. On the morning of July 3rd a herd of elephants 
passed within fifty yards of our sleeping-place, going down 
to the river along the dry bed of a rivulet. Starting 
a few minutes before the main body, we come upon large 
flocks of guinea-fowl, shoot what may be wanted for dinner, 
or next morning's breakfast, and leave them in the path 
to be picked up by the cook and his mates behind. As 
we proceed, francolins of three varieties run across the path, 
and hundreds of turtle-doves rise, with great blatter of wing, 
and fly off to the trees. Guinea-fowls, francolins, turtle- 
doves, ducks, and geese are the game birds of this region. 
At sunrise a herd of pallahs, standing like a flock of sheep, 
allow the first man of our long Indian file to approach within 
about fifty yards ; but having meat, we let them trot off 
leisurely and unmolested. Soon afterwards we come upon a 
herd of waterbucks, which here are very much darker in 
colour, and drier in flesh, than the same species near the sea. 
They look at us and we at them ; and we pass on to see a 
herd of doe koodoos, with a magnificently horned buck or two, 
hurrying off to the dry hill-sides. We have ceased shooting 
antelopes, as our men have been so often gorged with meat 
that they have become fat and dainty. They say that they 
do not want more venison, it is so dry and tasteless, and 
ask why we do not give them shot to shoot the more savoury 

^^Jbout eight o'clock the tsetse commence to buzz about 
us, and bite our hands and necks sharply./ Just as we 
are thinking of breakfast, we meet some buffaloes grazing 
by the path; but they make off in a heavy gallop at the 
sight of man.^| We fire, and the foremost, badly wounded, 

p 2 

212 ZEBRAS— WILD PIGS. Chap. X. 

separates from the herd, and is seen to stop amongst the 
trees; but, as it is a matter of great danger to follow 
a wounded buffalo, we hold on our way. It is this 
losing of wounded animals which makes firearms so an- 
nihilating to these beasts of the field, and will in time 
sweep them all away. The small Enfield bullet is worse 
than the old round one for this. It often goes through 
an animal without killing him, and he afterwards perishes, 
when he is of no value to man. After breakfast we draw 
near a pond of water, a couple of elephants stand on its 
bank, and, at a respectful distance behind these monarchs 
of the wilderness, is seen a herd of zebras, and another of 
waterbucks. On getting our wind the royal beasts make off 
at once ; but the zebras remain till the foremost man is 
within eighty yards of them, when old and young canter 
gracefully away. The zebra has a great deal of curiosity ; 
and this is often fatal to him, for he has the habit of stopping 
to look at the hunter. In this particular he is the exact oppo- 
site of the diver antelope, which rushes off like the wind, and 
never for a moment stops to look behind, after having once 
seen or smelt danger. The finest zebra of the herd is 
sometimes shot, our men having taken a sudden fancy to the 
flesh, which all declare to be the " king of good meat." On 
the plains of short grass between us and the river many 
antelopes of different species are calmly grazing, or 
reposing. Wild pigs are common, and walk abroad 
during the day ; but are so shy as seldom to allow a close 
approach. On taking alarm they erect their slender tails in 
the air, and trot off swiftly in a straight line, keeping their 
bodies as steady as a locomotive on a railroad. A mile 
beyond the pool three cow buffaloes with their calves come 
from the woods, and move out into the plain. A troop of 

Chap. X. 



monkeys, on the edge of the forest, scamper back to its depths 
on hearing the loud song of Singeleka, and old surly fellows, 
catching sight of the human party, insult it with a loud and 
angry bark. Early in the afternoon we may see buffaloes 
again, or other animals. We camp on the dry higher 
ground, after, as has happened, driving off a solitary 
elephant. The nights are warmer now, and possess nearly 
as much of interest and novelty as the days. A new world 
awakes and comes forth, more numerous, if we may judge 
by the noise it makes, than that which is abroad by sun- 
light. Lions and hyenas roar around us, and sometimes come 
disagreeably near, though they have never ventured into our 
midst. Strange birds sing their agreeable songs, while others 
scream and call harshly as if in fear or anger. Marvellous 
insect-sounds fall upon the ear; one, said by natives to 
proceed from a large beetle, resembles a succession of 
measured musical blows upon an anvil, while many others 
are perfectly indescribable. A little lemur was once seen to 
leap about from branch to branch with the agility of a frog ; 
it chirruped like a bird, and is nou larger than a robin- 
red-breast. Reptiles, though numerous, seldom troubled 
us ; only two men suffered from stings, and that very 
slightly, during the entire journey, the one supposed 
that he was bitten by a snake, and the other was stung by 
a scorpion. 

Grass-burning has begun, and is producing the blue hazy 
atmosphere of the American Indian summer, which in 
Western Africa is called the " smokes." Miles of fire burn 
on the mountain-sides in the evenings, but go out during the 
night. From their height they resemble a broad zigzag line 
of fire in the heavens. 

We slept on the night of the 6th July on the left bank of 


the Chongwe, which comes through a gap in the hills on our 
right, and is twenty yards wide. A small tribe of the Bazi- 
zulu, from the south, under Dadanga, have recently settled 
here and built a village. Some of their houses are square, 
and they seem to be on friendly terms with the Bakoa, 
who own the country. They, like the other natives, culti- 
vate cotton, but of a different species from any we have yet 
seen in Africa, the staple being very long, and the boll larger 
than what is usually met with ; the seeds cohere as in the 
Pernambuco kind. They brought the seed with them from 
their own countrv, the distant mountains of which in the 
south, still inhabited by their fellow-countrymen, who possess 
much cattle and use shields, can be seen from this high 
ground. These people profess to be children of the great 
paramount Chief, Kwanyakarombe, who is said to be lord of all 
the Bazizulu. The name of this tribe is known to geographers, 
who derive their information from the Portuguese, as the Mo- 
rusurus, and the hills mentioned above are said to have been 
the country of Changamira, the warrior-chief of history, whom 
no Portuguese ever dared to approach. The Bazizulu seem, by 
report, to be brave mountaineers ; nearer the river, the Sidima 
inhabit the plains; just as on the north side, the Babimpe 
live on the heights, about two days off, and the Makoa on or 
near the river. The Chief of the Bazizulu we were now with 
was hospitable and friendly. A herd of buffaloes came 
trampling through the gardens and roused up our men ; a 
feat that roaring lions seldom achieved. 

Our course next day passed over the upper terrace and 
through a dense thorn jungle. Travelling is always diffi- 
cult where there is no path, but it is even more per- 
plexing where the forest is cut up by many game-tracks. 
Here we got separated from one another, and a rhino- 

Chap. X. 



ceros with angry snort dashed at Dr. Livingstone as he 
stooped to pick up a specimen of the wild fruit morula ; but 
she strangely stopped stock-still when less than her own 
length distant, and gave him time to escape ; a branch 
pulled out his watch as he ran, and turning half round 
to grasp it, he got a distant glance of her and her calf still 
standing on the selfsame spot, as if arrested in the middle of 
her charge by an unseen hand. When about fifty yards off, 
thinking his companions close behind, he shouted " Look out 
there ! " when off she rushed, snorting loudly, in another 
direction. The Doctor usually went unarmed before this, but 
never afterwards. 

A peculiar yelping came from one part of the jungle, and 
Charles Livingstone found it to proceed from a troop of wild 
dogs wrangling over the remains of a buffalo which they 
had killed and nearly devoured. The wild dog (Hycena 
venaticd) has a large head, and jaws of great power ; the ears 
are long, the colour black and yellow in patches, with 
a white tuft at the tip of the tail. They hunt their game 
in packs, and perseveringly follow the animal they first start 
till they bring him down. The Balala of the Kalahari 
desert are said to have formerly tamed them and to have 
employed them to hunt. An intelligent native at Kolo- 
beng remembered when a boy to have seen a pack of 
the dogs returning from a hunt in charge of their masters, 
who drove them like a herd of goats, and for safety kept 
them in a pit. A fine eland was shot by Dr. Kirk this 
afternoon, the first we have killed. It was in first-rate 
condition, and remarkably fat; but the meat, though so 
tempting in appearance, severely deranged all who partook 
of it heartily, especially those who ate of the fat. Natives 
who live in game countries 5 and are acquainted with the 


different kinds of wild animals, have a prejudice against 
the fat of the eland, the pallah, the zebra, hippopotamus, 
and pig: they never reject it however, the climate mak- 
ing the desire for all animal food very strong ; but they 
consider that it causes ulcers and leprosy, while the fat of 
sheep and of oxen never produces any bad effects, unless the 
animal is diseased. 

We frequently meet families flitting from one place to 
another, marching, like ourselves, in single file. The father 
and husband at the head, carrying his bow and arrow, 
bag, hatchet, and spear, and little else ; next his son or 
sons, armed also, but carrying loads ; then follow wife and 
daughters, with bulky loads of household gear on their 
heads. They meet us without fear, or any of the cringing 
ways of slaves, so common down the river, where the institu- 
tion has been established. When Aye kill any animal these 
travelling parties are made welcome to a good portion 
of meat. At the foot or on the branches of the great 
wild fig-tree, at the public meeting-place of every village, 
a collection of the magnificent horns of buffaloes and 
antelopes shows the proud trophies of the hunter's success in 
the chase. At these sj>ots were some of the most splendid 
buffalo heads we have ever seen : the horns after making: a 
complete circle had commenced a second turn. This would 
be a rich country for a horn fancier. 

On the morning of the 9th, after passing four villages, we 
breakfasted at an old friend's, Tombanyama, who lives now 
on the mainland, having resigned the reecly island, where he 
was first seen, to the buffaloes, which used to take his crops 
and show fight to his men. He keeps a large flock of 
tame pigeons, and some fine fat capons, one of which he 
gave us, with a basket of meal. They have plenty of salt 

Chap. X. 



in this part of the country, obtaining it from the plains in 
the usual way. 

The half-caste partner of Sequasha and a number of his 
men were staying near. The fellow was very much frightened 
when he saw us, and trembled so much when he spoke, that 
the Makololo and other natives noticed and remarked on it. 
His fears arose from a sense of guilt, as we said nothing to 
frighten him, and did not allude to the murder till a few 
minutes before starting; when it was remarked that Dr. 
Livingstone having been accredited to the murdered Chief, 
it would be his duty to report on it ; and that not even the 
Portuguese Government would approve of the deed. He 
defended it by saying that they had put in the right man, 
the other was a usurper. He was evidently greatly relieved 
when we departed. In the afternoon we came to an outlying* 
hamlet of Kambadzo, whose own village is on an island, Ny- 
ampungo or Nyangalule, at the confluence of the Kafue. The 
Chief was on a visit here, and they had been enjoying a regu- 
lar jollification in honour of his Highness. There had been 
much mirth, music, drinking, and dancing. The men, and 
women too, had taken " a wee drap too much," but had not 
passed the complimentary stage. The wife of the headman, 
after looking at us a few moments, called out to the 
others, " Black traders have come before, calling themselves 
Bazungu, or white men, but now, for the first time, have we 
seen the real Bazungu." Kambadzo also soon appeared ; he 
was sorry that we had not come before the beer was all done, 
but he was going back to see if it was all really and entirely 
finished, and not one little potful left somewhere. 

This was, of course, mere characteristic politeness, as he 
was perfectly aware that every drop had been swallowed ; 
so we proceeded on to the Kafue, or Kafuje, accompanied 



Chap. X. 

by the most intelligent of his headmen. A high ridge, 
just before we reached the confluence, commands a splendid 
view of the two great rivers and the rich country beyond. 
Behind, on the north and east, is the high mountain-range, 
along whose base we have been travelling ; the whole range 
is covered with trees, which appear even on the prominent 
peaks, Chiarapela, Morindi, and Chiava; at this last the 
chain bends away to the N.W., and we could see the distant 
mountains where the Chief, Semalembue, gained all our 
hearts in 1856. 

Chap. XI. 




Semalembue — Nchoinokela — Mr. Moffat's mission to Moselekatse heard of — 
Native game-law — Mountains — Ancient state of country — Neither art nor 
power possess the effect of ancient miracles — Jealousy of strangers net 
African but Arab — The Bawe and " Baenda pezi," or " Go-nakeds " — Their 
hospitality — Leave Zambesi, and ascend Zungwe to Batoka Highlands — 
Sebetuane — A cairn — Batoka men of peace — Arboriculturists — Grave- 
yards — Muave — Tsetse medicine — Desire for peace — Corn extensively cul- 
tivated — A poet, and minstrel — Musical instruments — Our naked friend — 
Polite tobacco-smokers — 'Bawe never visited by Europeans before — Slave- 
trade follows our footsteps — Attempt by Governor-General of Mosambique 
to shut up Rovuma — Seabenzo — Elephant killed — Numbers annually 
slain — Meteor — The Falls visible upwards of twenty miles off — Fever 
treated and untreated — Moshobotwane — Meet Makololo near the Falls. 

On the 9th July, we tried to send Semalembue a present, but 
the people here refused to incur the responsibility of carry- 
ing it. We, who have the art of writing, cannot realize 
the danger one incurs of being accused of purloining a 
portion of goods sent from one person to another, when the 
carrier cannot prove that he delivered all committed to his 
charge. Rumours of a foray having been made, either 
by Makololo or Batoka, as far as the fork of the Kafue, 
were received here by our men with great indignation, as it 
looked as if the marauders were shutting up the country, 
which they had been trying so much to open. Below the 
junction of the rivers, on a shallow sandbank, lay a large herd 
of hippopotami, their bodies out of the water, like masses 
of black rock. Kambadzo's island, called Nyangalule, a name 
which occurs again at the mouth of the Zambesi, has many 
choice Motsikiri (Trachelia) trees on it; and four very con- 
spicuous stately palms growing out of a single stem. The 


Kafue reminds ns a little of the Shire, flowing between 
steep banks, with fertile land on both sides. It is a smaller 
river, and has less current. Here it seems to come from 
the west. The headman of the village, near which we en- 
camped, brought a present of meal, fowls, and sweet potatoes. 
They have both the red and white varieties of this potato. 
We have, on several occasions during this journey, felt the want 
of vegetables, in a disagreeable craving which our diet of meat 
and native meal could not satisfy. It became worse and worse 
till we got a meal of potatoes, which allayed it at once. A 
great scarcity of vegetables prevails in these parts of Africa. 
The natives collect several kinds of wild plants in the woods, 
which they use no doubt for the purpose of driving off cravings 
similar to those we experienced. 

Owing to the strength of the wind, and the cranky state 
of the canoes, it was late in the afternoon of the 11th 
before our party was ferried over the Kafue. After cross- 
ing, we were in the Bawe country. Fishhooks here, of 
native workmanship, were observed to have barbs like the 
European hooks : elsewhere the point of the hook is merely 
bent in towards the shank, to have the same effect in keep- 
ing on the fish as the barb. We slept near a village a short 
distance above the ford. The people here are of Batoka 
origin, the same as many of our men, and call themselves 
Batonga (independents) or Balengi, and their language only 
differs slightly from that of the Bakoa, who live between the 
two rivers Kafue and Loangwa. The paramount Chief of 
the district lives to the w 7 est of this place, and is called 
Nchomokela — an hereditary title : the family burying-place 
is on a small hill near this village. The women salute us 
by clapping their hands and lullilooing as we enter and 
leave a village, and the men, as they think, respectfully clap 

Chap. XL 



their hands on their hips. Immense crops of mapira (holcus 
sorghum) are raised ; one species of it forms a natural bend 
on the seed-stalk, so that the massive ear hangs down. The 
grain was heaped up on wooden stages, and so was a variety 
of other products. The men are skilful hunters, and kill 
elephants and buffaloes with long heavy spears. We halted 
a few minutes on the morning of the 12th July, opposite 
the narrow island of Sikakoa, w 7 hich has a village on 
its lower end. We were here told that Moselekatse's chief 
town is a month's distance from this place. They had 
heard, moreover, that the English had come to Moselekatse, 
and told him it was wrong to kill men ; and he had replied 
that he was born to kill people, but would drop the habit ; 
and, since the English came, he had sent out his men, not 
to kill as of yore, but to collect tribute of cloth and ivory. 
This report referred to the arrival of the Kev. R. Moffat, 
of Kuruman, who, we afterwards found, had established a 
Mission. The statement is interesting as showing, that, 
though imperfectly expressed, the purport of the Mission- 
aries' teaching had travelled, in a short time, over 300 
miles, and we know not how far the knowledge of the 
English operations on the Coast spread inland. 

When abreast of the high wooded island Kalabi we came 
in contact with one of the game-laws of the country, which 
has come down from the most ancient times. An old buffalo 
crossed the path a few yards in front of us ; our guide threw 
his small spear at its hip, and it was going off scarcely hurt, 
when three rifle balls knocked it over. " It is mine," said 
the guide. He had wounded it first, and the established 
native game-law is that the animal belongs to the man who 
first draws blood ; the two legs on one side, by the same law, 
belonged to us for killing it. This beast was very old, blind of 



one eye, and scabby ; the horns, mere stumps, not a foot long, 
must have atrophied, when by age he lost the strength dis- 
tinctive of his sex ; some eighteen or twenty inches of horn 
could not well be worn down by mere rubbing against the 
trees. We saw many buffaloes next day, standing quietly 
amidst a thick thorn-jungle, through which we were passing. 
They often stood until we were within fifty or a hundred 
yards of them. 

We had always mountains before us in the distance, and 
sometimes passed through hills that come close to or inter- 
sect the river. This is the case with those called Moio. 
They are generally of igneous or metamorphic rocks, clay- 
slate, or trap, with porcellanite and zeolite ; the principal rock 
in the central part of the country, where no syenite or 
gneiss had been upheaved, seems to be a grey coarse sand- 
stone, known to us by the name of Tette sandstone. Large 
masses of it still lie horizontally or only slightly inclined. 
When much disturbed, it has been tilted up by the enrption 
of igneous rocks, and near the point of contact it has either 
been hardened or melted, and the coal which elsewhere still 
lies under the undisturbed stratum, is crystallized or entirely 
burned. The igneous rocks often form dykes, as that called 
Nakabele, which stretches like a dam across the western 
entrance to the Kariba gorge. In the vicinity of the erupted 
rocks we usually meet soft calcareous tufa, as if, after the 
igneous action, many hot fountains flowing had deposited lime 
from their water. 

Previous, however, to this period of eruption and upheaval, 
it is probable that the sandstone formed the bed of prodi- 
gious inland seas, along the low shores of which the plants 
of the coal flourished, succeeded, as the land was gradually 
elevated, by the trees we now find silicified on the surface ; 


these may perhaps have been submerged, as the land again 
sank under some igneous agency, and became subjected to 
the action of water, at a high temperature, holding silica in 
solution. However that may have been, it is certain that a 
coalfield of unknown extent exists, for coal is found cropping 
out near to the lava or basalt, which is the principal rock of 
the Victoria Falls district, and, with the " faults" alluded to, 
it extends to the east of Tette. Then, again, we saw it in 
the Eovuma, with the same characteristic of fossil-wood lying 
on the grey sandstone. With abundance of fine iron-ore, the 
existence of this prodigious coalfield leads to the belief that 
an important future is in store for Africa. 

On the 14th July we left the river at the mountain-range, 
which, lying north-east and south-west across the river, forms 
the Kariba gorge. Near the upper end of the Kariba rapids, 
the stream Sanyati enters from the south, and is reported to 
have Moselekatse's principal cattle-posts at its sources; our 
route went round the north end of the mountains, and we 
encamped beside the village of the generous Chief, Moloi, 
who brought us three immense baskets of fine mapira meal, 
ten fowls, and two pots of beer. On receiving a present in 
return, he rose, and, with a few dancing gestures, said or 
sang, "Motota, Motota, Motota," which our men translated 
into "thanks." He had visited Moselekatse a few months 
before our arrival, and saw the English Missionaries, living 
in then wagons. " They told Moselekatse," said he, " they 
were of his family, or friends, and would plough the land 
and live at their own expense ;" and he had replied, " The 
land is before you, and I shall come and see you plough." 
This again was substantially what took place, when Mr. 
Moffat introduced the Missionaries to his old friend, and 
shows still further that the notion of losing their country by 


admitting foreigners does not come as the first idea to the 
native mind. One might imagine that, as mechanical powers 
are unknown to the heathen, the almost magic operations of 
machinery, the discoveries of modern science and art, or 
the presence of the prodigious force which, for instance, is 
associated with the sight of a man-of-war, would have 
the effect which miracles once had of arresting the at- 
tention and inspiring awe. But, though we have heard 
the natives exclaim in admiration at the sight of even 
small illustrations of what science enables us to do — " Ye 
are gods, and not men" — the heart is unaffected. In 
attempting their moral elevation, it is always more con- 
ducive to the end desired, that the teacher should come 
unaccompanied by any power to cause either jealousy or fear. 
The heathen, who have not become aware of the greed and 
hate which too often characterize the advancing tide of emi- 
gration, listen with most attention to the message of Divine 
love when delivered by men who evidently possess the same 
human sympathies with themselves. A Chief is rather 
envied his good fortune in first securing foreigners in his 
town. Jealousy of strangers belongs more to the Arab than 
to the African character ; and if the women are let alone by 
the traveller, no danger need be apprehended from any save 
the slave-trading tribes, and not often even from them. 

We saw large flocks of the beautiful ISTumidian cranes : 
guinea-fowls were still numerous, but rather shyer, as the 
natives here shoot many with arrows, and kill them by skil- 
fully throwing their clubs. The Mambo, the name here for 
Chief, of the island Mochue sent his brother and principal 
men after us to present a gift, and to " hear the words which 
were to cause the land to rest." We apologized for passing 
without calling, by stating that strangers could not know 


who was who. He proposed sending a deputation with ns 
to Sekeletu, in order to renew the friendly intercourse of 
former years, which of late had been broken by marauding 
and war : but the Doctor said he did not know whether 
Sekeletu was governing wisely, or whether he was hearkening 
to the counsels of the old warriors, who wished him to follow 
in the footsteps of his warlike father, Sebetuane. As we 
were spending the evening opposite Mochue, some men came 
with a marimba and accompaniments of buffalo-horns beaten 
with sticks ; but our men, knowing that we soon tired of 
their monotonous tunes and ungainly dancing, ordered them 
away. On the islands and on the left bank of the Zambesi, 
all the way from the river Kafue, there is a large popu- 
lation ; the right bank is equally fertile, but depopulated, 
because Moselekatse does not allow any one to live there 
who might raise an alarm when he sends out marauders 
beyond. From Moloi's village onwards, the people, though 
Batoka, are called Bawe and Ba Selea. Much salt is made 
on the rivulet Losito, and sold in large quantities, and very 

We passed through a fertile country, covered with open 
forest, accompanied by the friendly Bawe. They are very 
hospitable ; many of them were named, among themselves, 
" the Baenda pezi," or " Go-nakeds," their only clothing 
being a coat of red ochre. Occasionally stopping at their 
villages we were duly lullilooed, and regaled with sweet 
new-made beer, which, being yet unfermented, was not in- 
toxicating. It is in this state called Liting or Makonde. 
Some of the men carry large shields of buffalo-hide, and 
all are well supplied with heavy spears. The vicinity 
of the villages is usually cleared and cultivated in large 
patches ; but nowhere can the country be said to be stocked 




with people. At every village stands were erected, and piles 
of the native corn, still unthrashed, placed upon them ; some 
had been beaten out, put into oblong parcels made of grass, 
and stacked in wooden frames. 

We crossed several rivulets in our course, as the Mandora, 
the Lofia, the Manzaia (with brackish water), the Kimbe, the 
Chibue, the Chezia, the Chilola (containing fragments of coal), 
which did little more than mark our progress. The island and 
rapid of Nakansalo, of which we had formerly heard, were of no 
importance, the rapid being but half-a-mile long, and only on 
one side of the island. The island Kaluzi marks one of the 
numerous places where astronomical observations were made ; 
Mozia, a station where a volunteer poet left us ; the island 
Mochenya, and Mpande island, at the mouth of the Zungwe 
rivulet, where we left the Zambesi. 

When favoured with the hospitality and company of the 
" Go-nakeds," we tried to discover if nudity were the badge 
of a particular order among the Bawe, but they could only 
refer to custom. Some among them had always liked it for 
no reason in particular : shame seemed to lie dormant, and 
the sense could not be aroused by our laughing and joking 
them on their appearance. They evidently felt no less 
decent than we did with our clothes on ; but, whatever may 
be said in favour of nude statues, it struck us that man, in 
a state of nature, is a most ungainly animal. Could we see a 
number of the degraded of our own lower classes in like 
guise, it is probable, that, without the black colour which 
acts somehow as a dress, they would look worse still. 

In domestic contentions the Bawe are careful not to kill 
each other ; but, when one village goes to war with another, 
they are not so particular. The victorious party are said to 
quarter one of the bodies of the enemies they may have killed, 

Chap. XI. 



and to perform certain ceremonies over the fragments. The 
vanquished call upon their conquerors to give them a portion 
also ; and, when this request is complied with, they too perform 
the same ceremonies, and lament over their dead comrade, 
after which the late combatants may visit each other in peace. 
Sometimes the head of the slain is taken and buried in an ant- 
hill, till all the flesh is gone ; and the lower jaw is then worn 
as a trophy by the slayer ; but this we never saw, and the fore- 
going information was obtained only through an interpreter. 

We left the Zambesi at the mouth of the Zungwe or 
Mozama or Dela rivulet, up which we proceeded, first in a 
westerly and then in a north-westerly direction. The Zungwe 
at this time had no water in its sandy channel for the first 
eight or ten miles. Willows, however, grow on the banks, 
and water soon began to appear in the hollows ; and a few 
miles further up it was a fine flowing stream deliciously 
cold. As in many other streams from Chicova to near Si- 
namane, shale and coal crop out in the bank ; and here the 
large roots of stigmaria or its allied plants were found. We 
followed the course of the Zungwe to the foot of the Batoka 
highlands, up whose steep and rugged sides of red and white 
quartz we climbed till we attained an altitude of upwards of 
3000 feet. Here, on the cool and bracing heights, the ex- 
hilaration of mind and body was delightful, as we looked back 
at the hollow beneath covered with a hot sultry glare, not un- 
pleasant now that we were in the mild radiance above. We had 
a noble view of the great valley in which the Zambesi flows. 
The cultivated portions are so small in comparison to the rest 
of the landscape that the valley appears nearly all forest, 
with a few grassy glades. We spent the night of the 28th 
July high above the level of the sea, by the rivulet Tyotyo, 
near Tabacheu or Chirebuechina, names both signifying white 

Q 2 


Chap. XI. 

mountain ; in the morning hoar frost covered the ground, and 
thin ice was on the pools. Skirting the southern flank of Ta- 
bacheu, we soon passed from the hills on to the portion of the 
vast table-land called Mataba, and looking back saw all the 
way across the Zambesi valley to the lofty ridge some thirty 
miles off, which, coming from the Mashona, a country in the 
S.E., runs to the N.W. to join the ridge at the angle of 
which are the Victoria Falls, and then bends far to the 
N.E. from the same point. Only a few years since, 
these extensive highlands were peopled by the Batoka ; nu- 
merous herds of cattle furnished abundance of milk, and 
the rich soil amply repaid the labour of the husbandman ; 
now large herds of buffaloes, zebras, and antelopes fatten 
on the excellent pasture ; and on that land, which formerly 
supported multitudes, not a man is to be seen. In 
travelling from Monday morning till late on Saturday 
afternoon, all the way from Tabacheu to Moachemba, 
which is only twenty-one miles of latitude from the 
Victoria Falls, and constantly passing the ruined sites 
of utterly deserted Batoka villages, we did not fall in 
with a single person. The Batoka were driven out of 
their noble country by the invasions of Moselekatse and 
Sebetuane. Several tribes of Bechuana and Basutu, flee- 
ing from the Zulu or Matebele Chief, Moselekatse, reached 
the Zambesi above the Falls. Coming from a land without 
rivers, none of them knew how to swim ; and one tribe, called 
the Bamangwato, wishing to cross the Zambesi, was ferried 
over, men and women separately, to different islands, by one 
of the Batoka Chiefs ; the men were then left to starve and 
the women appropriated by the ferryman and his people. 
Sekomi, the present Chief of the Bamangwato, then an in- 
fant in his mother's arms, was enabled, through the kindness 

Chap. XI. 



of a private Batoka, to escape. This act seems to have made 
an indelible impression on Sekomi's heart, for, though other- 
wise callous, he still never fails to inquire after the welfare 
of his benefactor. 

Sebetuane, with his wonted ability, outwitted the treache- 
rous Batoka, by insisting in the politest manner on their Chief 
remaining at his own side until the people and cattle were 
all carried safe across ; the Chief was then handsomely 
rewarded, both with cattle and brass rings off Sebetuane's 
own wives. No sooner were the Makololo, then called 
Basuto, safely over, than they were confronted by the 
whole Batoka nation; and to this day the Makololo point 
with pride to the spot on the Lekone, near to which they 
were encamped, where Sebetuane, with a mere handful of 
warriors in comparison to the vast horde that surrounded 
him, stood waiting the onslaught, the warriors in one 
small body, the women and children guarding the cattle 
behind them. The Batoka, of course, melted away before 
those, who had been made veterans by years of conti- 
nual fighting, and Sebetuane always justified his subse- 
quent conquests in that country by alleging that the 
Batoka had come out to fight with a man fleeing for his 
Jife, who had never done them any wrong. They seem 
never to have been a warlike race ; passing through their 
country, we once observed a large stone cairn, and our guide 
favoured us with the following account of it : — " Once upon 
a time, our forefathers were going to fight another tribe, and 
here they halted and sat down. After a long consultation, 
they came to the unanimous conclusion, that instead of pro- 
ceeding to fight and kill their neighbours, and perhaps be 
killed themselves, it would be more like men to raise this 
heap of stones, as their protest against the wrong the other 


tribe had done them, which, having accomplished, they re- 
turned quietly home." Such men of peace could not stand 
before the Makololo, nor, of course, the more warlike Matebele, 
who coming afterwards drove even their conquerors, the Ma- 
kololo, out of the country. Sebetuane, however, profiting by 
the tactics which he had learned of the Batoka, inveigled a 
large body of this new enemy on to another island, and after 
due starvation there overcame the whole. A much greater 
army of " Moselekatse's own" followed with canoes, but were 
now baffled by Sebetuane's placing all his people and cattle 
on an island and so guarding it that none could approach. 
Dispirited, famished, borne down by fever, they returned to 
the Falls, and all, except five, were cut off. 

But though the Batoka appear never to have had much 
inclination to fight with men, they are decidedly brave 
hunters of buffaloes and elephants. They go fearlessly close 
up to these formidable animals, and kill them with large 
spears. The Banyai, who have long bullied all Portu- 
guese traders, were amazed at the daring and bravery 
of the Batoka in coming at once to close quarters with the 
elephant ; and Chisaka, a Portuguese rebel, having formerly 
induced a body of this tribe to settle with him, ravaged all 
the Portuguese villas around Tette. They bear the name 
of Basimilongwe, and some of our men found relations among 
them. Sininyane and Matenga also, two of our party, were 
once inveigled into a Portuguese expedition against Mariano, 
by the assertion that the Doctor had arrived and had sent 
for them to come down to Senna. On finding that they were 
entrapped to fight, they left, after seeing an officer with a large 
number of Tette slaves killed. 

The Batoka had attained somewhat civilized ideas, in plant- 
ing and protecting various fruit and oil-seed yielding trees of 

Chap. XI. 



the country. No other tribe either plants or abstains from 
cutting down fruit trees, but here we saw some which had 
been planted in regular rows, and the trunks of which were 
quite two feet in diameter. The grand old Mosibe, a tree 
yielding a bean with a thin red pellicle, said to be very fatten- 
ing, had probably seen two hundred summers. Dr. Kirk 
found that the Mosibe is peculiar, in being allied to a species 
met with only in the West Indies. The Motsikiri, sometimes 
called Mafuta, yields a hard fat, and an oil which is exported 
from Inhambane. It is said that two ancient Batoka travellers 
went down as far as the Loangwa, and finding the Macaa tree 
(jujube or zisyphus) in fruit, carried the seed all the way back to 
the great Falls, in order to plant them. Two of these trees are still 
to be seen there, the only specimens of the kind in that region. 

The Batoka had made a near approach to the custom of 
more refined nations and had permanent graveyards, either 
on the sides of hills, thus rendered sacred, or under large 
old shady trees ; they reverence the tombs of their ances- 
tors, and plant the largest elephants' frisks, as monuments at 
the head of the grave, or entirely enclose it with the choicest 
ivory. Some of the other tribes throw the dead body into 
the river to be devoured by crocodiles, or, sewing it up in a 
mat, place it on the branch of a Baobab, or cast it in some 
lonely gloomy spot, surrounded by dense tropical vegetation, 
where it affords a meal to the foul hyenas ; but the Batoka 
reverently bury their dead, and regard the spot henceforth 
as sacred. The ordeal by the poison of the muave is 
resorted to by the Batoka, as well as by the other tribes; 
but a cock is often made to stand proxy for the supposed witch. 
Near the confluence of the Kafue the Mambo, or Chief, with 
some of his headmen, came to our sleeping-place with a pre- 
sent ; their foreheads were smeared with white flour, and an 



Chap. XI. 

unusual seriousness marked their demeanour. Shortly before 
our arrival they had been accused of witchcraft ; conscious of 
innocence, they accepted the ordeal, and undertook to 
drink the poisoned muave. For this purpose they made 
a journey to the sacred hill of Nchomokela, on which repose 
the bodies of their ancestors ; and, after a solemn appeal to 
the unseen spirits to attest the innocence of their children, 
they swallowed the muave, vomited, and were therefore de- 
clared not guilty. It is evident that they believe that the 
soul has a continued existence ; and that the spirits of the de- 
parted know w r hat those they have left behind them are doing, 
and are pleased or not, according as their deeds are good or evil ; 
this belief is universal. The owner of a large canoe refused to 
sell it, because it belonged to the spirit of his father, who helped 
him when he killed the hippopotamus. Another, when the bar- 
gain for his canoe was nearly completed, seeing a large serpent 
on a branch of the tree overhead, refused to complete the sale, 
alleging that tins w r as the spirit of his father come to protest 
against it. • 

Some of the Batoka Chiefs must have been men of consider- 
able enterprise ; the land of one, in the western part of this 
country, was protected by the Zambesi on the S., and on 
the K and E. lay an impassable reedy marsh, filled with 
w r ater all the year round, leaving only his western border 
open to invasion : he conceived the idea of digging a broad 
and deep canal nearly a mile in length, from the reedy 
marsh to the Zambesi, and, having actually carried the scheme 
into execution, he formed a large island, on which his cattle 
grazed in safety, and his corn ripened from year to year 
secure from all marauders. 

Another Chief, wdio died a number of years ago, believed 
that he had discovered a remedy for tsetse-bitten cattle ; his 


son Moyara showed us a plant, which was new to our botanist, 
and likewise told us how the medicine was prepared ; the bark 
of the root, and, what might please our homoeopathic friends, 
a dozen of the tsetse are dried, and ground together into 
a fine powder. This mixture is administered internally ; and 
the cattle are fumigated by burning under them the rest 
of the plant collected. The treatment must be continued 
for weeks, whenever the symptoms of poison appear. This 
medicine, he frankly admitted, would not cure all the bitten 
cattle. " For," said he, " cattle, and men too, die in spite of 
medicine ; but should a herd by accident stray into a tsetse 
district and be bitten, by this medicine of my father, Kampa- 
kampa, some of them could be saved, while, without it, all would 
inevitably die." He stipulated that we were not to show the 
medicine to other people, and if ever we needed it in this region 
we must employ him ; but if we were far off we might make it 
ourselves ; and when we saw it cure the cattle think of him, 
and send him a present. 

Oar men made it known everywhere that we wished 
the tribes to live in peace, and would use our influence 
to induce Sekeletu to prevent the Batoka of Moshobo- 
twane and the Makololo under-chiefs making forays into 
their country : they had already suffered severel) 7 , and their 
remonstrances with their countryman, Moshobotwane, evoked 
only the answer, " The Makololo have given me a spear ; 
why should I not use it?" He, indeed, it was, who, being 
remarkably swift of foot, first guided the Makololo in 
their conquest of the country. In the character of peace- 
makers, therefore, we experienced abundant hospitality ; and, 
from the Kafue to the Falls, none of our party were allowed to 
suffer hunger. The natives sent to our sleeping-places generous 
presents of the finest white meal, and fat capons to give it a 



Chap. XI. 

relish, great pots of beer to comfort our hearts, together with 
pumpkins, beans, and tobacco, so that we " should sleep 
neither hungry nor thirsty." 

In travelling from the Kafue to the Zungwe we frequently 
passed several villages in the course of a day's march. In the 
evening came deputies from the villages, at which we could 
not stay to sleep, with liberal presents of food. It would 
have pained them to have allowed strangers to pass 
without partaking of their hospitality; repeatedly were we 
hailed from huts, and asked to wait a moment and drink a 
little of the beer, which was brought with alacrity. Our march 
resembled a triumphal procession. We entered and left every 
village amidst the cheers of its inhabitants ; the men clapping 
their hands, and the women lullilooing, with the shrill call, 
" Let us sleep," or " Peace." Passing through a hamlet one 
day, our guide called to the people, " Why do you not clap 
your hands and salute when you see men who are wishing to 
bring peace to the land ?" When we halted for the night it 
was no uncommon thing for the people to prepare our camp 
entirely of their own accord ; some with hoes quickly 
smoothed the ground for our beds, others brought dried grass 
and spread it carefully over the spot ; some with their small 
axes speedily made a bush fence to shield us from the wind ; 
and if, as occasionally happened, the water was a little 
distance off, others hastened and brought it with firewood 
to cook our food with. They are an industrious people, and 
very fond of agriculture. For hours together we marched 
through unbroken fields of mapira, or native corn, of a great 
width ; but one can give no idea of the extent of land under 
the hoe as compared with any European country. The extent 
of surface is so great that the largest fields under culture, 
when viewed on a wide landscape, dwindle to mere spots. 


When taken in connexion with the wants of the people, 
the cultivation on the whole is most creditable to their 
industry. They erect numerous granaries which give 
their villages the appearance of being large; and, when 
the water of the Zambesi has subsided, they place large 
quantities of grain, tied up in bundles of grass, and well 
plastered over with clay, on low sand islands for protection 
from the attacks of marauding mice and men. Owing to the 
ravages of the weevil, the native corn can hardly be preserved 
until the following crop comes in. However largely they may 
cultivate, and however abundant the harvest, it must all be 
consumed in a year. This may account for their making so 
much of it into beer. The beer these Batoka or Bawe brew 
is not the sour and intoxicating boala or pombe, found among 
some other tribes, but sweet, and highly nutritive, with only a 
slight degree of acidity, sufficient to render it a pleasant drink. 
The people were all plump, and in good condition ; and we 
never saw a single case of intoxication among them, though 
all drank abundance of this liting, or sweet beer. Both men 
and boys were eager to work for very small pay. Our men 
could hire any number of them to carry their burdens for a 
few beads a day. Our miserly and dirty ex- cook had an old 
pair of trousers that some one had given to him ; after he 
had long worn them himself, with one of the sorely decayed 
legs he hired a man to carry his heavy load a whole day ; 
a second man carried it the next day for the other leg, and 
what remained of the old garment, without the buttons, 
procured the labour of another man for the third day. 

Men of remarkable ability have risen up among the 
Africans from time to time, as amongst other portions of the 
human family. Some have attracted the attention, and 
excited the admiration of large districts by their wisdom. 


Others, apparently by the powers of ventriloquism, or by 
peculiar dexterity in throwing the spear, or shooting with 
the bow, have been the wonder of their generation ; but the 
total absence of literature leads to the loss of all former ex- 
perience, and the wisdom of the wise has not been handed 
down. They have had their minstrels too, but mere tradi- 
tion preserves not their effusions. One of these, and ap- 
parently a genuine poet, attached himself to our party for 
several days, and, whenever we halted, sang our praises to 
the villagers in smooth and harmonious numbers. It was a 
sort of blank verse, and each line consisted of five syllables. 
The song was short when it first began, but each day he picked 
up more information about us, and added to the poem until our 
praises became an ode of respectable length. When distance 
from home compelled his return, he expressed his regret at 
leaving us, and was, of course, paid for his useful and pleasant 
flatteries. Another, though a less gifted son of song, belonged 
to the Batoka of our own party. Every evening, while the 
others were cooking, talking, or sleeping, he rehearsed his 
songs, containing a history of everything he had seen in the 
land of the white men, and on the way back. In composing, 
extempore, any new piece, he was never at a loss ; for if the 
right word did not come, he halted not, but eked out the 
measure with a peculiar musical sound meaning nothing at all. 
He accompanied his recitations on the sansa, an instrument 
figured in the woodcut (c) f the nine iron keys of which are 
played with the thumbs, while the fingers pass behind to hold 
it. The hollow end and ornaments face the breast of the 
player. Persons of a musical turn, if too poor to buy a sansa, 
may be seen playing vigorously on an instrument made with a 
number of thick corn-stalks sewn together, as a sansa frame, 
and keys of split bamboo, which, though making but little 

Chap. XI. 



sound, seeras to soothe the player himself. When the instru- 
ment is played with a calabash (a) as a sonnding-board, it 
emits a greater volume of sound. Pieces of shells and tin 
are added to make a jingling accompaniment, and the cala- 
bash (5) is also ornamented. 

(a) Calabash sounding-board. (6) Calabash ornamented with figures. (c) Sansa. 

In musing over the peculiar habit indicated in the name 
" Baencla pezi " (Go-nakeds), we conjectured that it might be 
an order similar to that of Freemasons, but no secret 
society can be found among the native Africans. A sort 
of brotherhood, called by the Portuguese " Empacasseiros,' , 
exists in Angola, but it only enjoins community of right to 
food in each other's hut ; and the qualification for admission 
is ability to shoot the empacasso (buffalo or gnu). This is 
very much the same thing as that which distinguishes the bands 
into which the young Makololo are formed on circumcision. 
They thence forward consider each other as in a state of 
perfect equality, and bound to keep up the discipline of their 
troop, and, in case of cowardice, to inflict punishment. No 


good, as far as we could learn, would result to any one in 
this country from his knowledge of Freemasonry. A noble 
specimen of the Baenda pezi order once visited us and gained 
our esteem, though the full dress in which he stood consisted 
only of a tobacco-pipe, with a stem two feet long wound 
round with polished iron. He brought a liberal present. 
" God made him naked," he said, " and he had therefore 
never worn any sort of clothing." This gentleman's philo- 
sophy is very much like that of some dirty people we have 
known, who justified their want of fastidiousness by saying, 
" fingers were made before forks." Early next morning we 
had another interview with our naked friend, accompanied 
this time by his wife and daughter, bearing two large pots 
of beer, with which he wished us to refresh ourselves before 
starting. Both the women, as comely and modest-looking 
as any we have seen in Africa, were well - clothed, and 
adorned, as indeed all their women are. Some wear tin 
ear-rings all round the ear, and as many as nine often in 
each ear. The men rub their bodies with red ochre. Some 
plait a fillet two inches wide, of the inner bark of trees, and 
shave the hair off the lower part of the head, an inch above 
the ears being bare ; the hair, on the upper part, having 
been well smeared with red ochre in oil, the fillet is bound 
on to it, and gives the head the appearance of having on 
a neat forage-cap. Some strings of coarse beads, and a 
little polished iron-wire round the arms, the never-failing 
pipe, and a small pair of iron tongs to lift the lighted coal, 
constitute the entire clothing of the most dandified young 
men of the Baenda pezi. All their other faculties seem 
fairly developed ; but, as neither ridicule nor joking could 
awaken the sense of shame, it is probable that clothing 
alone would arouse the dormant feeling. Girls of eight or 


ten years, nearly naked, were clothed and taken into the 
Mission-house at Kolobeng as nurses to the children. In 
a fortnight after, they hastily covered their bosoms, even 
if one only passed through the sitting-room in which they 
slept. Among Zulus the smaller the covering, the more 
intense the shame on accidental exposure. 

Large quantities of tobacco are raised on the lower bank 
of the Zambesi during the winter months, and the people are 
perhaps the most inveterate smokers in the world. The pipe 
is seldom out of their mouths, and they are as polite smokers 
as any ever met with in a railway-carriage. When they 
came with a present, although we were in their own country 
they asked before lighting their pipes if we had any objec- 
tion to their smoking beside us, which, of course, we never 
had. They think that they have invented an improved 
method of smoking; a description of it may interest those 
who are fond of the weed at home. They take a whiff, 
puff out the grosser smoke, then, by a sudden inhalation, 
contrive to catch and swallow, as they say, the real essence, 
the very spirit of the tobacco, which in the ordinary way is 
entirely lost. The Batoka tobacco is famed in the country 
for its strength, and it certainly is both very strong and 
very cheap : a few strings of beads will purchase enough 
to last any reasonable man for six months. It caused 
headache in the only smoker of our party, from its strength, 
but this quality makes the natives come great distances to 
buy it. 

The people above Kariba had never been visited before by 
foreigners ; the chief of Koba, on being asked if any tradition 
existed of strangers having formerly come into the country, 
replied, " Not at all ; our fathers all died without telling us 
that they had seen men like you. To-day I am exalted in 


seeing what they never saw." Others, in reference to old men 
being in the habit of telling wonderful tales, said, " We are 
the true ancients ; we have seen stranger things than any 
of our ancestors, in seeing you." The only tradition of 
foreigners coming into the country refers to the ascent of 
Simoens as far as the Sanyati, at the entrance to the Kariba 
gorge. According to the testimony of the people of the 
country and the statement of the companion of this robber 
to us, it was a regular plundering foray similar to that of 
Sequasha. Like the Boers and others we have known, this 
man, who is still alive at Tette, eager to make the most of his 
conquest, represented the people attacked to have been Mate- 
bele, and on being told that they were Bawe, a tribe of 
Batoka, he answered, " Well, we thought them to be Mate- 
bele (Landeens), because they were naked." After accumu- 
lating large quantities of ivory and many slaves, by the aid 
of his followers' firearms, which the people had never before 
encountered, Simoens lost all the booty and his life by a 
combination of the Chiefs under Chisaka, at the rivulet 
Zingesi, near to Mpende. 

After we had passed up, however, a party of slaves, belong- 
ing to the two native Portuguese who assassinated the Chief, 
Mpangwe, and took possession of his lands at Zumbo, followed 
on our footsteps, and, representing themselves to be our 
" children," bought great quantities of ivory, from the Bawe, 
for a few coarse beads a tusk. They also purchased ten 
large new canoes to carry it, at the rate of six strings of 
red or white beads, or two fathoms of grey calico, for each 
canoe, and, at the same cheap rate, a number of good-looking 

We had long ere this become thoroughly convinced that 
the Government of Lisbon had been guilty, possibly unin- 

Chap. XI. 



tentionally, of double dealing. Public instructions, as already- 
stated, had been sent from Portugal to all the officials to 
render us every assistance in their power, but these were 
to be understood with considerable reservation. From what 
we observed it was clear that, with the public orders to the 
officials to aid us, private instructions had come to thwart 
us. It is possible that these private instructions meant 
only that we were to be watched ; but where nearly every 
one, from Governor to convict soldier, is an eager slave- 
dealer, such orders could only mean, "keep a sharp look 
out that your slave-trade follows as near their heels as 
possible." We were now so fully convinced that, in open- 
ing the country through which no Portuguese durst pre- 
viously pass, we were made the unwilling instruments of 
extending the slave-trade, that, had we not been under obli- 
gations to return with the Makololo to their own country, 
we should have left the Zambesi and gone to the Rovuma, 
or to some other inlet to the interior. It was with bitter 
sorrow that we saw the good wa would have done turned to 

We afterwards learned that no sooner was it proposed that 
we should go to the Kovuma, than the Governor-General 
d' Almeida hastened up to Zanzibar, and tried to induce the 
Sultan to agree to that river being made the boundary be- 
tween him and the Portuguese. This movement, the effect 
of instructions drawn up after information had been obtained 
from our letters being read at the meetings of the Geo- 
graphical Society, London, was happily frustrated by Colonel 
Rigby ; and the Governor-General had to be content with 
Cape Delgado as the extreme limit of Portuguese claims 

On the Batoka highlands, the invigorating breezes disposed 




Chap. XI, 

us to listen with pleasure to the singing of birds. It might 
be owing to the greater cold, but the variety of notes in their 
warblings seemed greater than with African birds in general. 
A pretty little black bird, with white shoulders, probably a 
weaver, but not seen elsewhere, sat on the topmost twigs of 
the huge trees, pouring forth its melody as if glad, among 
the deserted villages, once more to see the face of man. It 
flew from tree to tree, and sang on the wing, though not 
soaring like the lark. It bears frost, and to the bird-fancier 
or Acclimatization Society might be an interesting addition to 
their birds of song. It is not the honey-guide alone that is 
attached to man. The whydah-bird and waterwagtail are 
held sacred by the natives of different parts, and consequently 
come without fear close to human kind. Were our small birds 
not so much persecuted by small boys, then attachment would 
be more apparent, even in England. 

Seabenzo, the chief whom we found on the Tyotyo 
rivulet, had accompanied us some distance over the undu- 
lating highland plains ; and as he and our own men needed 
meat, we killed an elephant. This, unless one really needs 
the meat, or is eager for the ivory, can scarcely be looked 
back to without regret. These noble beasts, capable of being 
so useful to man in the domestic state, are, we fear, destined, 
at no distant date, to disappear from the face of the earth. 
Yet, in the excitement, all this and more was at once for- 
gotten, and we joined in the assault as eagerly as those who 
think only of the fat and savoury flesh. 

The writings of Harris and Gordon Cummin g contain such 
full and nauseating details of indiscriminate slaughter of the 
wild animals, that one wonders to see almost every African 
book since besmeared with feeble imitations of these great 
hunters' tales. Some tell of escapes from situations which, 



from our knowledge of the nature of the animals, it re- 
quires a painful stretch of charity to believe ever existed, 
even in dreams; and others of deeds which lead one to 
conclude that the proportion of "born butchers," in the 
population, is as great as of public-house keepers to the 
people in Glasgow. 

The amount of ivory taken to the marts of the world shows 
that about 30,000 elephants are annually slain* It is highly 

* After a lecture by Professor Owen, 
F.K.S., at the Society of Arts, London, 
17th Dec, 1856, on the "Ivory and 
Teeth of Commerce," Mr. P. L. Sim- 
monds gave some trade statistics from 
which it was calculated that upwards 
of 30,000 elephants annually perished. 
In one cargo of 1276 elephants' tusks, 
weighing in all 20,953 lbs., the average 
weight was 16 £ lbs. In another cargo 
558 elephants' tusks weighed 96 98 lbs., 
giving an average of 17^ lbs. In the 
accompanying note with which Mr. 
Simmonds has kindly obliged us, the 
ivory mentioned refers only to our 
own trade ; the exports from India 
and Siam to China, from Zanzibar, 
and the East Coast to India and the 
United States, and from the French 
African possessions to France, are 
not included. He takes the average 
weight at 30 lbs., and estimates the 
number killed annually at 30,000 — as 
stated in the text. Elephants, as a rule, 
never shed their tusks. We have only 
met with pieces broken^ off when the 
animal was engaged in digging up the 
roots of trees ; — so, practically, every 
tusk seen in the market belonged to 
an elephant now dead ; and, consider- 
ing the number of calves destroyed 
before the tusk becomes of any value 
to the trader, it is probable that 40,000 

is about the actual number annually 

We have made no reference to what 
may be called monster tusks, of from 
130 to 150 lbs. — some are spoken of 
as upwards of 200 lbs. In some parts, 
the average tusk may weigh 60 lbs. ; 
but as a set-off to this in the calcula- 
tion it must be remembered that one 
of the places not included, namely, 
Zanzibar, for , many years received 
annually 20,000 tusks. 

" Importation of Ivory of all hinds 
into the United Kingdom — elephants' 
tusks, walruses, and hippopotamus 
teeth : — 






























>e 10,721 


" The import of hippopotamus teeth 
and walrus is scarcely more than 10 or 
12 tons a year ; therefore it is scarcely 
worth considering. The difficulty is 
what average weight to take the tusks 
at. 30 lbs. may be considered a fair 

E 2 



Chap. XT. 

probable, that as the great size of the ears exhibited on 
ancient Koman coins prove the animals in use by that 
nation to have been of the African, and not of the Asiatic 
species, they must have been tamed by the negroes in the 
interior of Africa. This is the more likely, inasmuch as 
there is no instance on record of ancient Europeans daring 
to tame this animal. Never, since the time of the Eomans 
and Carthaginians, has the African elephant been tamed, 
though it was believed to be much more sagacious than the 
Asiatic species. 

In this hunt a small herd of female elephants, with their 
young, were encountered near a belt of open forest near 
Motunta. Three rifle-balls, including a Jacob's shell, were 
lodged in the body of the nearest ; a smaller one charged 
back, but stopped on seeing so many enemies, and went off 
with the others. The herd waited twice for the wounded 
one, which was not able to keep up, and only left her 
to her fate when self-preservation became the more im- 
perious law. This made us imagine that she was perhaps 
the mother of the herd. She ran a mile and a half, and then 
stopped to lean against a tree. A few of our men approached, 
and fired a volley, she went on a few paces, shook her trunk, 
dropped gently on one knee, then on the other ; slowly the 
two hindlegs bent, and she felL* We read it now with a pang. 

average. If African do not average 
much more than 20 or 25 lbs., while 
for Zanzibar and Mosambique the 
average would be 60 to 80 lbs., tak- 
ing the average at 30 lbs. this would 
imply the annual slaughter of 20,000 
elephants a year; and, taking the 
eastern and other markets, the num- 
ber may be fairly estimated at 30,000 
animals killed every year for the ivory." 

* The elephant was an ordinary sized 
female, and her measurement may be 
of interest to some : — 

Ft. in. 

Height at withers .. ..8 2 J 
Circumference of forefoot . . 3 7 
Length from tip of trunk to 

eye 6 10 

From eye to eye 0 14£ 

Eye to meatus of ear . . . . 1 3£ 

Chap. XI. 



A shout of exultation rose from the men, who rushed up, and 
danced round the fallen animal with wild shouts of triumph. 
When we came up, Tuba Mokoro approached the Doctor, 
whose Jacob's shell had inflicted a mortal wound behind the 
orifice of the ear, and, with great self-complacency, said, 
" You see it was speed that did it — my speed. I kept up 
while all the others lagged behind, though I fell and hurt my 
kuee. You will give me a cloth, won't you ? " 

The men, having had no meat for the last three or four days, 
thought that they could eat the elephant all themselves, and 
were not disposed to let Seabenzo and his people have any ; 
but, after gorging themselves all night, and grumbling at the 
English for possessing so little practical sense as to kill an 
elephant, and then not wait long enough to eat it up, they 
gave Seabenzo upwards of three-quarters of it, and we 
presented him with the tusks. The proboscis of the African 
elephant is so full at the insertion into the upper part of 
the face, that the animal appears to have a very convex 
forehead. The trunk when cut off close to the bone is so 

Ft. in. 

Eye to lower jaw .. .. 0 16f 
Eye to insertion of tail . . 9 10 
From insertion to end of tail 3 4^ 
Semi-circumference at mid- 
dle of chest 6 0 

Semi-circumference of abdo- 
men to middle of back . . 7 1^ 
From neck to forefoot . . 5 1 
From abdomen to hindfoot 3 3£ 
From meatus of ear horizon- 
tally to external edge . . 2 9 
Diagonal breadth of ear . .4 3 
Height from hindfoot . . 7 6 

Measurement of full-grown foetal 
elephant, having four placentae with 

cotyledons, and near its full time : — 

Ft. in. 

Height at withers . . . . 2 6 

Circumference of forefoot . . 1 1 

Height at hindleg . . . . 2 5 
From tip of trunk to tip of 

tail 6 0 

From tip of trunk to eye . . 1 7£ 
From eye to the meatus of 

ear 0 7^ 

Horizontal diameter of ear 

from meatus 0 8 

Diagonal breadth of ear . . 1 3£ 
Semi-ch'cumference of chest 1 7 
Semi-circumference of abdo- 
men 1 8^ 

Length of cord 3 7 



Chap. XI. 

heavy, that our companions declared only two or three men 
in their tribe could lift one. 

A herd of elephants makes sad havoc among the trees, 
which cover the highlands only in patches. They break off 
great branches as easily as we could snap the shoots of 
celery ; and they often break down good-sized trees in 
the mere wantonness of strength, without even tasting 

During the time we remained at Motunta a splendid 
meteor was observed to lighten the whole heavens. The 
observer's back was turned to it, but on looking round the 
streak of light was seen to remain on its path some seconds. 
This streak is usually explained to be only the continuance of 
the impression made by the shining body on the retina. This 
cannot be, as in this case the meteor was not actually seen 
and yet the streak was clearly perceived. The rays of 
planets and stars also require another explanation than that 
usually given. 

Fruit-trees and gigantic wild fig-trees, and circles of stones 
on which corn safes were placed, with worn grindstones, point 
out where the villages once stood. The only reason now 
assigned, for this fine country remaining desolate, is the fear 
of fresh visitations by the Matebele. The country now 
slopes gradually to the west into the Makololo Valley. Two 
days' march from the Batoka village nearest the highlands, 
we met with some hunters who were burning the dry grass, 
in order to attract the game by the fresh vegetation which 
speedily springs up afterwards. The grass, as already re- 
marked, is excellent for cattle. One species, with leaves 
having finely serrated edges, and of a reddish-brown colour, 
we noticed our men eating : it tastes exactly like liquorice- 
root, and is named kezu-kezu. The tsetse, known to the 


Batoka by the name ndoka, does not exist here, though 
buffaloes and elephants abound. 

A small trap in the path, baited with a mouse, to catch 
spotted cats (F. Genetta), is usually the first indication 
that we are drawing near to a village; but when we get 
within the sounds of pounding corn, cockcrowing, or the 
merry shouts of children at play, we know that the huts 
are but a few yards off, though the trees conceal them 
from view. We reached, on the 4th of August, Moa- 
chemba, the first of the Batoka villages which now owe 
allegiance to Sekeletu, and could see distinctly with the 
naked eye, in the great valley spread out before us, the 
columns of vapour rising from the Victoria Falls, though 
upwards of 20 miles distant. We were informed that, the rains 
having failed this year, the corn crops had been lost, and 
great scarcity and much hunger prevailed from Sesheke to 
Linyanti. Some of the reports which the men had heard 
from the Batoka of the hills concerning their families, 
were here confirmed. Takelang's wife had been killed by 
Mashotlane, the headman at the Falls, on a charge, as usual, 
of witchcraft. Inchikola's two wives, believing him to be 
dead, had married again ; and Masakasa was intensely dis- 
gusted to hear that two years ago his friends, upon a report of 
his death, threw his shield over the Falls, slaughtered all his 
oxen, and held a species of wild Irish wake, in honour of his 
memory : he said he meant to disown them, and to say, when 
they come to salute him, I am dead. I am not here. I belong 
to another world, and should stink if I came among you." 

All the sad news we had previously heard, of the disastrous 
results which followed the attempt of a party of missionaries, 
under the Eev. H. Helmore, to plant the Gospel at Linyanti, 
were here fully confirmed. Several of the missionaries and 



Chai\ XI. 

their native attendants, from Kuruman, had succumbed to 
the fever, and the survivors had retired some weeks before 
our arrival. We remained the whole of the 7th beside the 
village of the old Batoka chief, Moshobotwane, the stoutest man 
we have seen in Africa. The cause of our delay here was a 
severe attack of fever in Charles Livingstone. He took a 
dose of our fever pills ; was better on the 8th, and marched 
three hours; then on the 9th marched eight miles to the 
Great Falls, and spent the rest of the day in the fatiguing 
exercise of sight-seeing. We were in the very same valley 
as Linyanti, and this was the same fever which treated, or 
rather maltreated, with only a little Dover's powder, proved 
so fatal to poor Helmore ; the symptoms, too, were identical 
with those afterwards described by non-medical persons, as 
those of poison. 

We gave Moshobotwane a present, and a pretty plain 
exposition of what we thought of his bloody forays among 
his Batoka brethren. A scolding does most good to the 
recipient, when put alongside some obliging act. He certainly 
did not take it ill, as was evident from what he gave us in 
return ; which consisted of a liberal supply of meal, milk, 
and an ox. He has a large herd of cattle, and a tract of fine 
pasture-land on the beautiful stream Lekone. A home- 
feeling comes over one, even in the interior of Africa, at 
seeing once more cattle grazing peacefully in the meadows. 
The tsetse inhabits the trees which bound the pasture-land 
on the west; so, should the herdsman forget his duty, the 
cattle straying might be entirely lost. The women of this 
village were more numerous than the men, the result of 
the chief's marauding. The Batoka wife of Sima came up 
from the Falls, to welcome her husband back, bringing a 
present of the best fruits of the country. Her husband was 

Chap. XI. 



the only one of the party who had brought a wife from Tette, 
namely, the girl whom he obtained from Chisaka for his 
feats of dancing. According to our ideas, his first wife could 
hardly have been pleased at seeing the second and younger 
one ; but she took her away home with her, while the husband 
remained with us. In going clown to the Fall village we 
met several of the real Makololo. They are lighter in colour 
than the other tribes, being of a rich warm brown ; and they 
speak in a slow deliberate manner, distinctly pronouncing 
every word. On reaching the village opposite Kalai, we had 
an interview with the Makololo headman, Mashotlane : he 
came to the shed in which we were seated, a little boy car- 
rying his low three-legged stool before him : on this he sat 
down with becoming dignity, looked round him for a few 
seconds, then at us, and, saluting us with "Bumela" (good 
morning, or hail), he gave us some boiled hippopotamus 
meat, took a piece himself, and then handed the rest to his 
attendants, who soon ate it up. He defended his forays on 
the ground that, when he went to collect tribute, the Batoka 
attacked him, and killed some of his attendants. The ex- 
cuses made for their little wars are often the very same as 
those made by Csesar in his ' Commentaries. , Few admit, 
like old Moshobotwane, that they fought because they had 
the power, and a fair prospect of conquering. We found 
here Pitsane, who had accompanied the Doctor to St. Paul 
de Loanda. He had been sent by Sekeletu to purchase three 
horses from a trading party of Griquas from Kuruman, who 
charged nine large tusks apiece for very wretched animals. 

In the evening, when all was still, one of our men, Takelang, 
fired his musket, and cried out, " I am weeping for my wife : 
my court is desolate : I have no home ; " and then uttered a 
loud wail of anguish. 



Chap. XII. 


Mosi-oa-tunya, or Victoria Falls — Visit Garden Island — "Words fail to 
describe tlie Falls — Twice the depth of Niagara — Mosi-oa-tunya bears the 
palm — Filled native mind with awe — No Portuguese record of them — 
Two slaves reach Tette from Cassange — And make the " Portuguese road " 
across Africa — Mashotlane, and his prisoner. 

We proceeded next morning, 9th August, 1860, to see the 
Victoria Falls. Mosi-oa-tunya is the Makololo name, and 
means smoke sounding; Seongo or Chongwe, meaning the 
Rainbow, or the place of the Rainbow, was the more ancient 
term they bore. We embarked in canoes, belonging to Tuba 
Mokoro, " smasher of canoes," an ominous jnanie ; but he alone 
it seems knew the medicine which insures one against ship- 
wreck in the rapids above the Falls. For some miles the 
river was smooth and tranquil, and we glided pleasantly 
over water clear as crystal, and past lovely islands densely 
covered with a tropical vegetation. Noticeable among the 
many trees were the lofty Hyphame and Borassus palms ; 
the graceful wild date-palm, with its fruit in golden clusters, 
and the umbrageous mokononga, of cypress form, with its 
dark-green leaves and scarlet fruit. Many flowers peeped 
out near the water's edge, some entirely new to us, and 
others, as the convolvulus, old acquaintances. 

But our attention was quickly called from the charming 
islands to the dangerous rapids, down which Tuba might 
unintentionally shoot us. To confess the truth, the very 
ugly aspect of these roaring rapids could scarcely fail to 
cause some uneasiness in the minds of new-comers. It is 

Chap. XII. 



only when the river is very low, as it was now, that any 
one durst venture to the island to which we were bound. If 
one went during the period of flood, and fortunately hit the 
island, he would be obliged to remain there till the water 
subsided again, if he lived so long. Both hippopotami and 
elephants have been known to be swept over the Falls, and of 
course smashed to pulp. 

Before entering the race of waters, we were requested 
not to speak, as our talking might diminish the virtue of 
the medicine ; and no one with such boiling eddying rapids 
before his eyes, would think of disobeying the orders of 
a " canoe-smasher." It soon became evident that there was 
sound sense in this request of Tuba's, although the rea- 
son assigned was not unlike that of the canoe-man from 
Sesheke, who begged one of our party not to whistle, be- 
cause whistling made the wind come. It was the duty of 
the man at the bow to look out ahead for the proper course, 
and when he saw a rock or snag, to call out to the steers- 
man. Tuba doubtless thought that talking on board might 
divert the attention of his steersman, at a time when the 
neglect of an order, or a slight mistake, would be sure to 
spill us all into the chafing river. There were places where 
the utmost exertions of both men had to be put forth in 
order to force the canoe to the only safe part of the rapid, 
and to prevent it from sweeping down broadside on, where 
in a twinkling we should have found ourselves floundering 
among the plotuses and cormorants, which were engaged 
in diving for their breakfast of small fish. At times it 
seemed as if nothing could save us from dashing in our 
headlong race against the rocks which, now that the river 
was low, jutted out of the water ; but, just at the very 
nick of time, Tuba passed the word to the steersman, and 


then with ready pole turned the canoe a little aside, and we 
glided swiftly past the threatened danger. Never was canoe 
more admirably managed : once only did the medicine seem 
to have lost something of its efficacy. We were driving 
swiftly down, a black rock, over which the white foam flew, 
lay directly in our path, the pole was planted against it 
as readily as ever, but it slipped, just as Tuba put forth 
his strength to turn the bow off. We struck hard, and 
were half-full of water in a moment ; Tuba recovered him- 
self as speedily, shoved off the bow, and shot the canoe into 
a still shallow place, to bale out the water. Here we were 
given to understand that it was not the medicine which was 
at fault ; that had lost none of its virtue ; the accident was 
owing entirely to Tuba having started without his breakfast. 
Need it be said we never let Tuba go without that meal 
again ? 

We landed at the head of Garden Island, which is situated 
near the middle of the river and on the lip of the Falls. On 
reaching that Hp, and peering over the giddy height, the 
wondrous and unique character of the magnificent cascade at 
once burst upon us. 

It is rather a hopeless task to endeavour to convey an 
idea of it in words, since, as was remarked on the spot, an 
accomplished painter, even by a number of views, could 
but impart a faint impression of the glorious scene. The 
probable mode of its formation may perhaps help to the con- 
ception of its peculiar shape. Niagara has been formed by a 
wearing back of the rock over which the river falls ; and, 
during a long course of ages, it has gradually receded, and left 
a broad, deep, and pretty straight trough in front. It goes on 
wearing back daily, and may yet discharge the lakes from 
which its river-the St. Lawrence-flows. But the Victoria 

Chap. XII, 



Falls have been formed by a crack right across the river, in 
the hard, black, basaltic rock which there formed the bed of 
the Zambesi. The lips of the crack are still quite sharp, save 
about three feet of the edge over which the river rolls. The 
walls go sheer down from the lips without any projecting 
crag, or symptom of stratification or dislocation. When the 
mighty rift occurred, no change of level took place in the 
two parts of the bed of the river thus rent asunder, conse- 
quently, in coming down the river to Garden Island, the 
water suddenly disappears, and we see the opposite side of 
the cleft, with grass and trees growing where once the 
river ran, on the same level as that part of its bed on 
which we sail. The first crack is, in length, a few yards 
more than the breadth of the Zambesi, which by measure- 
ment we found to be a little over 1860 yards, but this 
number we resolved to retain as indicating the year in 
which the Fall was for the first time carefully examined. 
The main stream here runs nearly north and south, and the 
cleft across it is nearly east and west. The depth of the rift 
was measured by lowering a line, to the end of which a few 
bullets and a foot of white cotton cloth were tied. One of 
us lay with his head over a projecting crag, and watched the 
descending calico, till, after Lis companions had paid out 310 
feet, the weight rested on a sloping projection, probably 50 
feet from the water below, the actual bottom being still 
further down. The white cloth now appeared the size of a 
crown-piece. On measuring the width of this deep cleft by 
sextant, it was found at Garden Island, its narrowest part, to 
be eighty yards, and at its broadest somewhat more. Into 
this chasm, of twice the depth of Niagara-fail, the river, a 
full mile wide, rolls with a deafening roar ; and this is Mosi- 
oa-tunya or the Victoria Falls. 



Chap. XII. 

Looking from Garden Island, down to the bottom of the 
abyss, nearly half a mile of water, which has fallen over that 
portion of the Falls to our right, or west of our point of .view, 
is seen collected in a narrow channel twenty or thirty yards 
wide, and flowing at exactly right angles to its previous 
course, to our left ; while the other half, or that which fell 
over the eastern portion of the Falls, is seen in the left of the 
narrow channel below, coming towards our right. Both waters 
unite midway, in a fearful boiling whirlpool, and find an 
outlet by a crack situated at right angles to the fissure of 
the Falls. This outlet is about 1170 vards from the w r estern 


end of the chasm, and some 600 from its eastern end ; the 
whirlpool is at its commencement. The Zambesi, now ap- 
parently not more than twenty or thirty yards wide, rushes 
and surges south, through the narrow escape -channel for 
130 yards; then enters a second chasm somewhat deeper, 
and nearly parallel with the first. Abandoning the bottom 
of the eastern half of this second chasm to the growth of 
large trees, it turns sharply off to the west, and forms a 
promontory, with the escape-channel at its point, of 1170 
yards long, and 416 yards broad at the base. After reach- 
ing this base, the river runs abruptly round the head of 
another promontory, and flows away to the east, in a third 
chasm ; then glides round a third promontory, much nar- 
rower than the rest, and away back to the west, in a fourth 
chasm ; and we could see in the distance that it appeared 
to round still another promontory, and bend once more in 
another chasm towards the east. In this gigantic, zigzag, 
yet narrow trough, the rocks are all so sharply cut and 
angular, that the idea at once arises that the hard basaltic 
trap must have been riven into its present shape by a force 
acting from beneath, and that this probably took place, when 



the ancient inland seas were let off by similar fissures nearer 
the ocean. 

The land beyond, or on the south of the Falls, retains, as 
already remarked, the same level as before the rent was 
made. It is as if the trough below Niagara were bent right 
and left, several times before it reached the railway bridge. 
The land in the supposed bends being of the same height 
as that above the Fall, would give standing-places, or 
points of view, of the same nature as that from the 
railway-bridge, but the nearest would be only eighty yards, 
instead of two miles (the distance to the bridge) from 
the face of the cascade. The tops of the promontories 
are in general flat, smooth, and studded with trees. The 
first with its base on the east, is at one place so narrow, 
that it would be dangerous to walk to its extremity. On 
the second, however, we found a broad rhinoceros path and 
a hut ; but, unless the builder were a hermit, with a pet rhino- 
ceros, we cannot conceive what beast or man ever went there 
for. On reaching the apex of this second eastern promontory 
we saw the great river, of a deep sea-green colour, now sorely 
compressed, gliding away, at least 400 feet below us.* 

Garden Island, when the river is low, commands the best 
view of the Great Fall chasm, as also of the promontory op- 

* We have twice used the word 
" glide" in the above description, and 
wish to convey the idea that the river, 
although so torn, tossed, and buffeted 
in the Fall chasm, slips round the 
points of the promontories with a re- 
sistless flow, unbroken save by a 
peculiar churning, eddying motion ; 
this gave us the impression that the 
cleft must be prodigiously deep to 
allow all the water poured into it to 
pass so untumultuously away ; and it 

may here be remarked that in the 
frontispiece, a sketch of which was 
sent to Sir Eoderick Murchison 
from the spot in 1860, the land 
forming the promontories is neces- 
sarily depressed to exhibit the Falls, 
though it is not so in nature. The 
foreground of this bird's-eye view has 
more vegetation than actually ap- 
pears ; far away from the influence of 
the vapour, the rocks are rather 


posite, with its grove of large evergreen trees, and brilliant 
rainbows of three-quarters of a circle, two, three, and some- 
times even four in number, resting on the face of the vast 
perpendicular rock, down which tiny streams are always 
running to be swept again back by the upward rushing 
vapour. But as, at Niagara, one has to go over to the 
Canadian shore to see the chief wonder — the Great Horse- 
shoe Fall — so here we have to cross over to Moselekatse's 
side to the promontory of evergreens, for the best view of 
the principal Falls of Mosi-oa-tunya. Beginning, therefore, 
at the base of this promontory, and facing the Cataract, at 
the west end of the chasm, there is, first, a fall of thirty- 
six yards in breadth, and of course, as they all are, upwards 
of 310 feet in depth. Then Boaruka, a small island, inter- 
venes, and next comes a great fall, with a breadth of 573 
yards ; a projecting rock separates this from a second grand 
fall of 325 yards broad ; in all, upwards of 900 yards of 
perennial Falls. Further east stands Garden Island ; then, 
as the river was at its lowest, came a good deal of the bare 
rock of its bed, with a score of narrow falls, which, at the 
time of flood, constitute one enormous cascade of nearly 
another half-mile. Near the east end of the chasm are two 
larger falls, but they are nothing at low water compared 
to those between the islands. 

The whole body of water rolls clear over, quite un- 
broken ; but, after a descent of ten or more feet, the entire 
mass suddenly becomes like a huge sheet of driven snow. 
Pieces of water leap off it in the form of comets with tails 
streaming behind, till the whole snowy sheet becomes 
myriads of rushing, leaping, aqueous comets. This pecu- 
liarity was not observed by Charles Livingstone at Nia- 
gara, and here it happens, possibly from the dryness of 



the atmosphere, or whatever the cause may be which 
makes every drop of Zambesi water appear to possess a 
sort of individuality. It runs off the ends of the paddles, 
and glides in beads along the smooth surface, like drops 
of quicksilver on a table. Here we see them in a con- 
glomeration, each with a train of pure white vapour, racing 
down till lost in clouds of spray. A stone dropped in be- 
came less and less to the eye, and at last disappeared in 
the dense mist below. 

Charles Livingstone had seen Niagara, and gave Mosi-oa- 
tunya the palm, though now at the end of a drought, and 
the river at its very lowest. Many feel a disappointment 
on first seeing the great American Falls, but Mosi-oa-tunya is 
so strange, it must ever cause wonder. In the amount of 
water, Niagara probably excels, though not during the 
months when the Zambesi is in flood. The vast body of 
water, separating in the comet-like forms described, neces- 
sarily encloses in its descent a large volume of air, which, 
forced into the cleft, to an unknown depth, rebounds, and 
rushes up loaded with vapour to form the three or even 
six columns, as if of steam, visible at the Batoka vil- 
lage Moachemba, twenty-one miles distant. On attaining 
a height of 200, or at most 300 feet from the level of the 
river above the cascade, this vapour becomes condensed into 
a perpetual shower of fine rain. Much of the spray, rising to 
the west of Garden Island, falls on the grove of evergreen trees 
opposite ; and from their leaves, heavy drops are for ever 
falling, to form sundry little rills, which, in running down 
the steep face of rock, are blown off and turned back, or 
licked off their perpendicular bed, up into the column from 
which they have just descended. 

The morning sun gilds these columns of watery smoke 




Chap. XII. 

with all the glowing colours of double or treble rainbows. 
The evening sun, from a hot yellow sky, imparts a sul- 
phureous hue, and gives one the impression that the yawn- 
ing gulf might resemble the mouth of the bottomless pit. No 
bird sits and sings on the branches of the grove of perpetual 
showers, or ever builds its nest there. We saw hornbills, 
and flocks of little black weavers flying across from the 
mainland, to the islands, and from the islands to the points 
of the promontories and back again, but they uniformly 
shunned the region of perpetual rain, occupied by the 
evergreen grove. The sunshine, elsewhere in this land so 
overpowering, never penetrates the deep gloom of that shade. 
In the presence of the strange Mosi-oa-tunya, we can sym- 
pathize with those who, when the world was young, peopled 
earth, air, and river, with beings not of mortal form. Sacred 
to what deity would be this awful chasm and that dark 
grove, over which hovers an ever-abiding " pillar of cloud ? " 

The ancient Batoka Chieftains used Kazeruka, now Garden 
Island, and Boaruka, the island further west, also on the lip 
of the Falls, as sacred spots for worshipping the Deity. It 
is no w r onder that under the cloudy columns, and near the 
brilliant rainbows, with the ceaseless roar of the cataract, with 
the perpetual flow, as if pouring forth from the hand of the 
Almighty, their souls should be filled with reverential awe. 
It inspired wonder in the native mind throughout the interior. 
Among the first questions asked by Sebituane of Mr. Oswell 
and Dr. Livingstone, in 1851, was, "Have you any smoke 
soundings in your country," and " what causes the smoke to 
rise for ever so high out of water ? " In that year its fame 
was heard 200 miles off, and it was approached within two 
days ; but it was seen by no European till 1855, when Dr. 
Livingstone visited it on his way to the East Coast. Being 



then accompanied as far as this Fall by Sekeletu and 200 
followers, his stay was necessarily short ; and the two days 
there were employed in observations for fixing the geo- 
graphical position of the place, and turning the showers, 
that at times sweep from the columns of vapour across the 
island, to account, in teaching the Makololo arboriculture, 
and making that garden from which the natives named 
the island; so that he did not visit the opposite sides of 
the cleft, nor see the wonderful course of the river be- 
yond the Falls. The hippopotami had destroyed the trees 
which were then planted; and, though a strong stockaded 
hedge was made again, and living orange-trees, cashew- 
nuts, and coffee seeds, put in afresh, we fear that the per- 
severance of the hippopotami will overcome the obstacle of 
the hedge* It would require a resident missionary to rear 
European fruit-trees. The period, at which the peach and 
apricot come into blossom, is about the end of the dry sea- 
son, and artificial irrigation is necessary. The Batoka, the 
only arboriculturists in the country, rear native fruit-trees 
alone — the mosibe, the motsikiri, the boma, and others. When 
a tribe takes an interest in trees, it becomes more attached to 

* Tlie "Victoria Falls were visited 
by Sir Eichard Glyn, Bart., and his 
brother when on a hunting excursion 
in 1863. They visited Garden Is- 
land, and found that our fears of the 
depredations of the hippopotami had 
been only too well founded. The fruit 
trees had been destroyed. Sir Richard 
kindly deepened the initials " D. L., 
1855," made on a tree on the island 
when the discovery took place, and 
the only case in which the letters had 
been cut by Dr. Livingstone in the 
country. Traders and others also 

have visited the country south of the 
Falls, but we have not seen any new 
ground described in that quarter, nor 
does any one else seem to have gone 
over to the eastern side, and again 
seen the chasms there. The river 
Lonkwe or Quai, said to have ca- 
noes upon it, and to join the Zambesi 
between Mosi - oa - tunya and Sina- 
mane's, might be interesting to ex- 
plorers; and Moselekatse, the para- 
mount lord of the people there, is 
known to be favourable to the Eng- 

s 2 



Chap. XT I. 

the spot on which they are planted, and they prove one of 
the civilizing influences. 

Before leaving the most wonderful Falls in the world, one 
may be excused for referring to the fact that, though they had 
produced a decided impression on the native mind in the 
interior, no intelligence of their existence ever reached the 
Portuguese. About 1809 two black slaves, named Pedro 
Baptista and Andre Jose, were sent from Cassange, a village 
three hundred miles from the West Coast, through the country 
of Cazembe, to Tette, nearly an equal distance from the East 
Coast. A lady now living at Tette, Donna Eugenia, re- 
members distinctly these slaves — their woolly hair dressed 
in the Londa fashion — arriving and remaining at Tette, till 
letters came from the Governor-General of Mosambique, 
which they successfully carried back to Cassange. On this 
slender fibre hangs all the Portuguese pretension to having 
possessed a road across Africa. Their maps show the 
source of the Zambesi S.S.W. of Zumbo, about where the 
Falls were found ; and on this very questionable authority 
an untravelled English map-maker, with most amusing as- 
surance, asserts that the river above the Falls runs under 
the Kalahari Desert and is lost. 

Where one Englishman goes, others are sure to follow. Mr. 
Baldwin, a gentleman from Natal, succeeded in reaching the 
Falls guided by his pocket-compass alone. On meeting 
the second subject of Her Majesty, who had ever beheld the 
greatest of African wonders, we found him a sort of prisoner 
at large. He had called on Mashotlane to ferry him over to 
the north side of the river, and, when nearly over, he took 
a bath, by jumping in and swimming ashore. "If," said 
Mashotlane, "he had been devoured by one of the crocodiles 
which abound there, the English would have blamed us for 



his death. He nearly inflicted a great injury upon us, there- 
fore, we said, he must pay a fine." As Mr. Baldwin had 
nothing with him wherewith to pay, they were taking care 
of him till he should receive beads from his wagon two days 

Mashotlane's education had been received in the camp of 
Sebituane, where but little regard was paid to human life. 
He was not yet in his prime, and his fine open countenance 
presented to us no indication of the evil influences which 
unhappily, from infancy, had been at work on his mind. 
The native eye was more penetrating than ours ; for the 
expression of our men was, " He has drunk the blood of 
men — you may see it in his eyes." He made no further 
difficulty about Mr. Baldwin ; but, the week after we left, he 
inflicted a severe wound on the head of one of his wives with 
his rhinoceros-horn club. She, being of a good family, left 
him, and we subsequently met her and another of his wives 
proceeding up the country. 

The ground is strewn with agates for a number of miles 
above the Falls ; but the fires, which burn off the grass yearly, 
have injured most of those on the surface. Our men were 
delighted to hear that they do as well as flints for muskets ; 
and this, with the new ideas of the value of gold (dalama) and 
malachite, that they had acquired at Tette, made them con- 
ceive that we were not altogether silly in picking up and 
looking at stones. 



Condition of fugitives and captives in native tribes — Servitude in the interior 
light as compared to slavery on the coast — Molele's village — Scarcity of 
food — Tianyane identical with Ourebi — The Poku — Dr. Livingstone con- 
sulted on the value of horses — Mparira, village of Mokompa — Stingless 
bee — ■ Take canoe for Sesheke — Sekeletu's attempt at enforcing quarantine — 
The Chiefs' messengers — "The argument" for learning to read — "Free 
pratique " — Native instructions — The cattle-post school — Sesheke old and 
new town — Sekeletu — Nothing like beef — " Beef with and beef without " 

— Visitors — Sekeletu's leprosy and its attendant evils — Disease pronounced 
incurable by native doctors — Taken in hand by a doctress — Handed over to 
Drs. Livingstone and Kirk — Improvement of patient — Description of disease 
— Tea and preserved fruits from Benguela — No ivory, no slave-trade — 
Hffect of Sekeletu's orders in closing slave-market — Fashion — Horse-dealing 

— Peculiar style of racing — " The household cavalry " — Produce of interior 
in grain — No vegetables — No fruit — Mr. Baldwin, and Mr. Helmore's 
party — Sad breaking up of the Mission — Fever, not poison, the cause of 

Makching up the river, we crossed the Lekone at its 
confluence, about eight miles above the island Kalai, and 
went on to a village opposite the Island Chundu. Nambowe, 
the headman, is one of the Matebele or Zulus, who 
have had to flee from the anger of Moselekatse, to take 
refuge with the Makololo. During our interview, his six 
handsome wives came and sat behind him. He had only 
two children. The ladies were amused with our question 
whether they ever quarrelled, to which the monster answered, 
" Oh, yes, they are always quarrelling amongst themselves.'* 
Among the coast tribes a fugitive is almost always sold, but 
here a man retains the same rank he held in his own tribe. 
The children of captives even have the same privileges as the 
children of their captors. The Kev. T. M. Thomas, a mis- 



sionary now living with Moselekatse, finds the same system 
prevailing among his Zulus or Matebele. He says that, 
" the African slave, brought by a foray to the tribe, enjoys, 
from the beginning, the privileges and name of a child, 
and looks upon his master and mistress in every respect as 
his new parents. He is not only nearly his master's equal, 
but he may, with impunity, leave his master and go wherever 
he likes within the boundary of the kingdom : although 
a bondman or servant, his position, especially in Mosele- 
katse's country, does not convey the true idea of a state 
of slavery ; for, by care and diligence, he may soon become a 
master himself, and even more rich and powerful than he who 
led him captive ." 

The practice pursued by these people, on returning from a 
foray, of selling the captives to each other for corn or cattle, 
might lead one to imagine that slavery existed in all 
its intensity among the native Africans ; but Mr. Thomas, 
observing, as we have often done, the actual working of the 
system, says very truly, " Neither the punctuality, quickness, 
thoroughness, nor amount of exertion is required by the 
African as by the European master. In Europe the difficulty 
is want of time ; in Africa, what is to be done with it." 
Apart from the shocking waste of life, which takes place in 
these and all slave forays, their slavery is not so repulsive 
as it always becomes in European hands. It is perhaps a 
failing in a traveller to be affected with a species of home- 
sickness, so that the mind always turns from the conditions 
and circumstances of the poor abroad to the state of the 
lonely in our native land ; but so it is. When we see with 
how much ease the very lowest class here can subsist, we 
cannot help remembering, with sorrow, with what difficulty 
our own poor can manage to live — with what timid eagerness 


Chap. XIII. 

employment is sought — how hard the battle of life ; while so 
much of this fair earth remains unoccupied, and not put to the 
benevolent purpose for which it was intended by its Maker. 

We spent Sunday, the 12th, at the village of Molele, a 
tall old Batoka, who was proud of having formerly been a 
great favourite with Sebituane. In coming hither we passed 
through patches of forest abounding in all sorts of game. 
The elephants' tusks, placed over graves, are now allowed 
to decay, and the skulls, which the former Batoka stuck 
on poles to ornament their villages, not being renewed, 
now crumble into dust. Here the famine, of which we had 
heard, became apparent, Molele's people being employed 
in digging up the tsitla root out of the marshes, and cutting 
out the soft core of the young palm-trees, for food. 

The village, situated on the side of a wooded ridge, com- 
mands an extensive view of a great expanse of meadow and 
marsh lying along the bank of the river. On these holmes 
herds of buffaloes and waterbucks daily graze in security, as 
they have in the reedy marshes a refuge into which they 
can run on the approach of danger. The pretty little 
tianyane or ourebi is abundant further on,* and herds 

* From being entirely unknown in 
the Bechuana country south of this, 
it was thought to be a new antelope, 
and is so mentioned by Dr. Living- 
stone; but the description of the 
appearance, gait, alarm-call, and habits 
(given by another African traveller, 
Mr. W. F. Webb) of the ourebi, as 
found in Natal, leaves no doubt but 
that the two animals are identical. 
Having made this mistake himself, 
Dr. Livingstone is quite disposed to 
be lenient to others ; but would re- 
spectfully suggest a doubt, whether 
it be advisable to multiply names 

when there is no more variation than 
a bend in the shape of the horns, or 
a slight difference in the colour of 
the hair. An eland for instance, 
described, from specimens shot on 
these very plains in 1853, as retain- 
ing in maturity the stripes which 
appear on the young of all elands in 
the Kalahari Desert, ten years later 
has been rediscovered as djikijunlca, 
named from specimens seen in West 
Africa. This has been the case also 
with the nakong or nzoe, and the 
reason assigned in this case was its 
being "faintly spotted." A young 

Chap. XIII. 



of blue weldebeests or brindled gnus (Katoblepas Gorgon) 
amused us by their fantastic capers. They present a 
much more ferocious aspect than the lion himself, but 
are quite timid. We never could by waving a red hand- 
kerchief, according to the prescription, induce them to 
venture near to us. It may therefore be, that the red 
colour excites their fury only when wounded or hotly pur- 
sued. Herds of lechee or lech we now enliven the mea- 
dows ; and they and their younger brother, the graceful poku, 
smaller, and of a rounder contour, race together towards the 
grassy fens. We ventured to call the poku after the late 
Major Yardon, a noble-hearted African traveller; but fully 
anticipate that some aspiring Nimrod will prefer that his own 
name should go down to posterity on the back of this buck. 

Midway between Tabacheu and the Great Falls the streams 
begin to flow westward. On the other side they flow east. 
Large round masses of granite, somewhat like old castles, 
tower aloft about the Kalomo. The country is an elevated 
plateau, and our men knew and named the different plains 
as we passed them by. 

On the 13th we met a party from Sekeletu, who was now at 
Sesheke. Our approach had been reported, and they had 
been sent to ask the Doctor what the price of a horse ought 
to be ; and what he said, that they were to give and no more. 
In reply they were told that by their having given nine large 
tusks for one horse before the Doctor came, the Griquas 
would naturally imagine that the price was already settled. 
It was exceedingly amusing to witness the exact imitation 
they gave of the swagger of a certain white with whom they 

watcrbuck's head has also been 
brought from West Africa and figured 
as a new species ; and the common 

bush buck was called A. lloualeyni, 
though well known and described 
before any of us were born. 



Chap. XIII. 

had been dealing, and who had, as they had perceived, 
evidently wished to assume an air of indifference. Holding 
up the head and scratching the beard it was hinted might 
indicate not indifference, but vermin. It is well that we do 
not always know what they say about us. The remarks are 
often not quite complimentary, and resemble closely what 
certain white travellers say about the blacks. 

We made our camp in the afternoon abreast of the large 
island called Mparira, opposite the mouth of the Chobe. 
Francolins, quails, and guinea-fowls, as well as larger game,, 
were abundant. The Makololo headman, Mokompa, brought 
us a liberal present ; and, in the usual way, which is con- 
sidered politeness, regretted he had no milk, as his cows 
were all dry. We got some honey here from the very small 
stingless bee, called, by the Batoka, moandi, and by 'others, 
the kokomatsane. This honey is slightly acid, and has an 
aromatic flavour. The bees are easily known from their habit 
of buzzing about the eyes, and tickling the skin by sucking 
it as common flies do. The hive has a tube of wax like a 
quill, for its entrance, and is usually in the hollows of trees. 

Mokompa feared that the tribe was breaking up, and 
lamented the condition into which they had fallen in con- 
sequence of Sekeletu's leprosy; he did not know what 
was to become of them. He sent two canoes to take us up 
to Sesheke ; his best canoe had taken ivory up to the Chief, 
to purchase goods of some native traders from Benguela. 
Above the Falls the paddlers always stand in the canoes, 
using long paddles, ten feet in length, and changing from 
side to side without losing the stroke. 

Mochokotsa, a messenger from Sekeletu, met us on the 17th r 
with another request for the Doctor to take ivory and purchase 
a horse. He again declined to interfere. None were to come 
up to Sekeletu but the Doctor ; and all the men who had had 

Chap. XIII. 



smallpox at Tette, three years ago, were to go back to 
Moshobotwane, and he would sprinkle medicine over them, 
to drive away the infection, and prevent it spreading in 
the tribe. Mochokotsa was told to say to Sekeletu that the 
disease was known of old to white men, and we even knew 
the medicine to prevent it ; and, were there any danger now, 
we should be the first to warn him of it. Why did not he go 
himself to have Moshobotane sprinkle medicine to drive away 
his leprosy. We were not afraid of his disease, nor of the 
fever that had killed the teachers and many Makololo at 
Linyanti. As this attempt at quarantine was evidently 
the suggestion of native doctors to increase their own im- 
portance, we added that we had no food, and would hunt 
next day for game, and the day after ; and, should we be 
still ordered purification by their medicine, we should then 
return to our own country. 

The message was not all of our dictation, our companions 
interlarded it with their own indignant protests, and said some 
strong things in the Tette dialect about these " doctor things " 
keeping them back from seeing their father ; when to their 
surprise Mochokotsa told them he knew every word they 
were saying, as he was of the tribe Bazizulu, and defied 
them to deceive him by any dialect, either of the Mashona 
on the east, or of the Mambari on the west. Mochokotsa 
then repeated our message twice, to be sure that he had it 
every word, and went back again. These Chiefs' messen- 
gers have most retentive memories ; they carry messages of 
considerable length great distances, and deliver them almost 
word for word. Two or three usually go together, and when 
on the way the message is rehearsed every night, in order 
that the exact words may be kept to. One of the native 
objections to learning to write is, that these men answer the 
purpose of transmitting intelligence to a distance as well 



as a letter would; and, if a person wishes to communicate 
with any one in the town, the best way to do so is either to 
go to or send for him. And as for corresponding with friends 
very far off, that is all very well for white people, but the 
blacks have no friends to whom to write. The only effective 
argument for their learning to read is, that it is their duty 
to know the revelation from their Father in Heaven, as it 
stands in the Book. 

Our messenger returned on the evening of the following 
day with " You speak truly," says Sekeletu, " the disease is 
old, come on at once, do not sleep in the path ; for I am 
greatly desirous (tlologelecoe) to see the Doctor." 

After Mochokotsa left us, we met some of Mokompa's men 
bringing back the ivory, as horses were preferred to the West- 
Coast goods. They were the bearers of instructions to Mo- 
kompa, and as these instructions illustrate the government 
of people who have learned scarcely anything from Euro- 
peans, they are inserted, though otherwise of no importance. 
Mashotlane had not behaved so civilly to Mr. Baldwin, as 
Sekeletu had ordered him to do to all Englishmen. He 
had been very uncivil to the messengers sent by Mosele- 
katse with letters from Mr. Moffat, treated them as spies, 
and would not land to take the bag until they moved off. 
On our speaking to him about this, he justified his conduct 
on the plea that he was set at the Falls for the very pur- 
pose of watching these, their natural enemies ; and how was 
he to know that they had been sent by Mr. Moffat ? Our 
men thereupon reported at head-quarters that Mashotlane 
had cursed the Doctor. The instructions to Mokompa, 
from Sekeletu, were to "go and tell Mashotlane that he 
had offended greatly. He had not cursed Monare (Dr. 
Livingstone) but Sebituane, as Monare was now in the 
place of Sebituane, and he reverenced him as he had done 

Chap. XIII. 


Lis father. Any fine taken from Mr. Baldwin was to be 
returned at once, as he was not a Boer but an Englishman. 
Sekeletu was very angry, and Mokompa must not conceal the 

On finding afterwards that Mashotlane's conduct had been 
most outrageous to the Batoka, Sekeletu sent for him to come 
to Sesheke, in order that he might have him more under his 
own eye ; but Mashotlane, fearing that this meant the punish- 
ment of death, sent a polite answ r er, alleging that he was ill 
and unable to travel Sekeletu tried again to remove Mashot- 
lane from the Falls, but without success. In theory the Chief 
is absolute and quite despotic ; in practice his authority is 
limited, and he cannot, without occasionally putting refrac- 
tory headmen to death, force his subordinates to do his will. 

Except the small rapids by Mparira island, near the mouth 
of the Chobe, the rest of the way to Sesheke by water, is 
smooth. Herds of cattle of two or three varieties graze on 
the islands in the river : the Batoka possessed a very small 
breed of beautiful shape, and remarkably tame, and many 
may still be seen ; a larger kind, many of which have horns 
pendent, and loose at the roots ; and a still larger sort, with 
horns of extraordinary dimensions, apparently a burden for 
the beast to carry. This breed was found in abundance 
at Lake Ngami. We stopped at noon at one of the 
cattle posts of Mokompa, and had a refreshing drink of 
milk. Men of his standing have usually several herds 
placed at [different spots, and the owner visits each in 
turn, while his head-quarters are at his village. His sod, 
a boy of ten, had charge of the establishment during 
his father's absence. According to Makololo ideas, the 
cattle-post is the proper school in which sons should be 
brought up. Here they receive the right sort of education — 
the knowledge of pasture and how to manage cattle. 



Chap. XIII. 

Strong 'easterly winds blow daily from noon till midnight, 
and continue till the October or November rains set in. 
Whirlwinds, raising huge pillars of smoke from burning 
grass and weeds, are common in the forenoon. We were 
nearly caught in an immense one. It crossed about twenty 
yards in front of us, the wind apparently rushing into it 
from all points of the compass. Whirling round and round 
in great eddies, it swept up hundreds of feet into the air a 
continuous dense dark cloud of the black pulverized soil, 
mixed with dried grass, off the plain. Herds of the new 
antelopes, lechwe, and poku, with the kokong, or gnus, and 
zebras stood gazing at us as w T e passed. The mirage lifted 
them at times halfway to the clouds, and twisted them and 
the clumps of palms into strange unearthly forms. The 
extensive and rich level plains by the banks, along the sides 
of which we paddled, would support a vast population, and 
might be easily irrigated from the Zambesi. If watered, they 
would yield crops all the year round, and never suffer 
loss by drought The hippopotamus is killed here with long 
lance-like spears. We saw two men, in a light canoe, 
stealing noiselessly down on one of these animals thought to 
be asleep ; but it "was on the alert, and they had quickly to 
retreat. Comparatively few of these animals now remain 
between Sesheke and the Falls, and they are uncommonly 
wary, as it is certain death for one to be caught napping 
in the daytime. 

On the 18th we entered Sesheke. The old town, now in 
ruins, stands on the left bank of the river. The people have 
built another on the same side, a quarter of a mile higher 
up, since their headman Moriantsiane was put to death 
for bewitching the Chief with leprosy. Sekeletu was on 
the right bank, near a number of temporary huts. A man 
hailed us from the Chief's quarters, and requested us to 

Chap. XIII. 



rest under the old Kotla, or public meeting-place tree. A 
young Makololo, with the large thighs which Zulus and 
most of this tribe have, crossed over to receive orders from 
the Chief, who had not shown himself to the people since he 
was affected with leprosy. On returning he ran for Mokele, 
the headman of the new town, who, after going over to Seke- 
letu, came back and conducted us to a small but good hut, 
and afterwards brought us a fine fat ox, as a present from 
the Chief. "This is a time of hunger," he said, "and we 
have no meat, but we expect some soon from the Barotse 
Valley." We were entirely out of food when we reached 
Sesheke. Never was better meat than that of the ox Seke- 
letu sent, and infinitely above the flesh of all kinds of game 
is classic beef! We have partaken of the flesh of all the 
eatable animals in Africa, except the crocodile, and often 
under circumstances when a keen appetite might be sup- 
posed to give a bias to the judgment in favour of the 
game ; yet all that could be said of the best was, it is 
nearly as good as the flesh of oxen. Possibly some ani- 
mals, still untamed, might be found to turn to good account 
land covered with pasture such as heather or brackens, other- 
wise useless for cattle ; but we say, Let the " Acclimatization 
Society" increase and multiply the number of beeves, and 
it will please the taste, and benefit humanity, more than it 
possibly could by the introduction of every wild animal from 
the elephant down to the crocodile. It must be confessed, 
however, that to the uninitiated it is rather awkward to sit 
clown to a meal of nothing but beef, however excellent. On 
taking a mouthful, hands and eyes turn instinctively in search 
of something in the form of bread, potatoes, or vegetables to 
accompany it, and there is an unpleasant sensation of 
wanting what the Scotch know by the word 6 kitchen ' (otyov). 
We made the fat kitchen the lean. The Makoiolo usually 



Chap. XIII. 

devour all the fat first, that being considered the best, and 
afterwards eat the lean, and, last of all, the porridge or 
bread, if they have any. The people who, like them, live 
much on milk and meat, can bear fatigue and privation 
much better than those whose sustenance is chiefly grain and 
pulse. When the Makololo go on a foray, as they sometimes 
do, a month distant, many of the subject tribes who accom- 
pany them, being grain eaters, perish from sheer fatigue, 
while the beef eaters scorn the idea of even being tired. 

A constant stream of visitors rolled in on us the day after 
our arrival. Several of them, who had suffered affliction 
during the Doctor's absence, seemed to be much affected 
on seeing him again. All were in low spirits. A severe 
drought had cut off the crops, and destroyed the pasture of 
Linyanti, and the people were scattered over the country 
in search of wild fruits, and the hospitality of those whose 
ground-nuts (Arachis hypogcea) had not failed. Sekeletu's 
leprosy brought troops of evils in its train. Believing him- 
self bewitched, he had suspected a number of his chief men, 
and had put some, with their families, to death ; others 
had fled to distant tribes, and were living in exile. The 
Chief had shut himself up, and allow r ed no one to come 
into his presence but his uncle Mam ire. Ponwane, who 
had been as " head and eyes " to him, had just died ; evi- 
dence, he thought, of the potent spells of those who hated 
all who loved the Chief. The country was suffering griev- 
ously, and Sebituane's grand empire was crumbling to pieces. 
A large body of young Barotse had revolted and fled to the 
north ; killing a man by the way, in order to put a blood- 
feud between Masiko, the Chief to whom they were going, 
and Sekeletu. The Batoka under Sinamane, and Muemba, 
were independent, and Mashotlane at the Falls was setting 
Sekeletu's authority virtually at defiance. Sebituane's wise 


policy in treating the conquered tribes on equal terms with 
his own Makololo, as all children of the Chief, and equally 
eligible to the highest honours, had been abandoned by his 
son, who married none but Makololo women, and appointed 
to office none but Makololo men. He had become unpopular 
among the black tribes, conquered by the spear but more 
effectually won by the subsequent wise and just government 
of his father. 

Strange rumours were afloat respecting the unseen Se- 
keletu; his fingers were said to have grown like eagle's 
claws, and his face so frightfully distorted that no one 
could recognise him. Some had begun to hint that he 
might not really be the son of the great Sebituane, the 
founder of the nation, strong in battle, and wise in the affairs 
of state. " In the days of the Great Lion " (Sebituane), said 
his only sister, Moriantsiane's widow, whose husband Seke- 
letu had killed, " we had Chiefs and little Chiefs and elders 
to carry on the government, and the' great Chief, Sebituane, 
knew them, all, and everything they did, and the whole 
country was wisely ruled ; but now Sekeletu knows nothing 
of what his underlings do, and they care not for him, and 
the Makololo power is fast passing away."* 

The native doctors had given the case of Sekeletu up. 

* In 1865, four years after these 
forebodings were penned, we received 
intelligence that they had all come to 
pass. Sekeletu died in the beginning 
of 3 864 — a civil war broke out about 
the succession to the chieftainship ; a 
large body of those opposed to the 
late Chief's uncle, Impololo, being re- 
gent, departed with their cattle to 
Lake Ngami ; an insurrection by the 
black tribes followed; Impololo was 

slain, and the kingdom, of which, 
under an able sagacious mission, a 
vast deal might have been made, has 
suffered the usual fate of African con- 
quests. That fate we deeply deplore ; 
for, whatever other faults the Makololo 
might justly be charged with, they did 
not belong to the class who buy and 
sell each other, and the tribes who 
have succeeded them do. 




Chap. XIII. 

They could not cure him, and pronounced the disease 
incurable. An old doctress from the Manyeti tribe had 
come to see what she could do for him, and on her skill 
he now hung his last hopes. She allowed no one to see 
him, except his mother and uncle, making entire seclusion 
from society an essential condition of the much longed-for 
cure. He sent, notwithstanding, for the Doctor; and on 
the following day we all three were permitted to see him. 
He was sitting in a covered wagon, which was enclosed by 
a high wall of close-set reeds; his face was only slightly 
disfigured by the thickening of the skin in parts, where 
the leprosy had passed over it; and the only peculiarity 
about his hands was the extreme length of his finger- 
nails, which, however, was nothing very much out of the way, 
as all the Makololo gentlemen wear them uncommonly long. 
He has the quiet, unassuming manners of his father, Sebi- 
tuane, speaks distinctly, in a low pleasant voice, and appears 
to be a sensible man, except perhaps on the subject of his 
having been bewitched; and in this, when alluded to, he 
exhibits as firm a belief as if it were his monomania. 
" Moriantsiane, my aunt's husband, tried the bewitching 
medicine first on his wife, and she is leprous, and so is her 
head-servant ; then, seeing that it succeeded, he gave me a 
stronger dose in the cooked flesh of a goat, and I have had 
the disease ever since. They have lately killed Ponwane, 
and, as you see, are now killing me." Ponwane had died of 
fever a short time previously. Sekeletu asked us for medi- 
cine and medical attendance, but we did not like to take 
the case out of the hands of the female physician already 
employed, it being bad policy to appear to undervalue any 
of the profession ; and she, being anxious to go on with her 
remedies, said "She had not given him up yet, but would 

Chap. XIII. 



try for another month ; if he was not cured by that time, 
then she would hand him over to the white doctors." But 
we intended to leave the country before a month was up; 
so Mamire, with others, induced the old lady to suspend 
her treatment for a little. She remained, as the doctors 
stipulated, in the Chief's establishment, and on full pay. 

Sekeletu was told plainly that the disease was unknown 
in our country, and was thought exceedingly obstinate of 
cure ; that we did not believe in his being bewitched, and 
we were willing to do all we could to help him. This was 
a case for disinterested benevolence ; no pay was expected, 
but considerable risk incurred ; yet we could not decline it, 
as we had the trading in horses. Having, however, none 
of the medicines usually employed in skin -diseases with 
us, we tried the local application of lunar caustic, and 
hydriodate of potash internally ; and with such gratifying 
results, that Mamire wished the patient to be smeared all 
over with a solution of lunar caustic, which he believed to 
be of the same nature as the blistering fluid formerly ap- 
plied to his own knee by Mr. Oswell. Its power he con- 
sidered irresistible, and he would fain have had anything like 
it tried on Sekeletu. 

The disease begins with slight discoloration of the sur- 
face, and at first affects only the cuticle, the patches spread- 
ing in the manner, and with somewhat of the appearance, 
of lichens, as if it were a fungus; small vesicles rise at 
the outer edges of the patches, and a discharge from the 
vesicles forms scabs. The true skin next thickens and 
rises in nodules, on the forehead, nose, and ears ; and, when 
the disease is far advanced, foul fissures appear on the toes 
and fingers ; these eventually drop off, and sometimes the de- 
formed patient recovers. The natives believe it to be here- 

T 2 


ditary, and non-contagious; but, while working with this 
case, something very like it was transplanted to the hands 
of Drs. Kirk and Livingstone, and was cured only by the 
liberal use of the caustic. The Chiefs health and spirits 
became better, as the skin became thinner, and the de- 
formity of face disappeared. The aged doctress, naturally 
wishing to obtain some credit for the improvement, began 
secretly to superadd her remedies, which consisted of scrap- 
ing the diseased skin, and rubbing it with an astringent 
bark in powder. She desisted on receiving a hint from Ma- 
mire, that perhaps the medicine of the white doctors and the 
medicine of the black doctors might not work well together. 

It was a time of great scarcity and hunger, but Sekeletu 
treated us hospitably, preparing tea for us at every visit we 
paid him. With the tea we had excellent American biscuit 
and preserved fruits, which had been brought to him all the 
way from Benguela. The fruits he most relished were those 
preserved in their own juices; plums, apples, pears, straw- 
berries, and peaches, which we have seen only among Portu- 
guese and Spaniards. It made us anxious to plant the fruit- 
tree seeds we had brought, and all were pleased with the idea 
of having these same fruits in their own country. 

Mokele, the headman of Sesheke, and Sebituane's sister, 
Manchunyane, were ordered to provide us with food, as Se- 
keletu's wives, to whom this duty properly belonged, were 
at Linyanti. We found a black trader from the West Coast, 
and some Griqua traders from the South, both in search of 
ivory. Ivory is dear at Sesheke ; but cheaper in the Batoka 
country, from Sinainane's to the Kafue, than anywhere else. 
The trader from Benguela took orders for goods for his next 
year's trip, and offered to bring tea, coffee, and sugar at cent, 
per cent, prices. As, in consequence of a hint formerly 

Chap. XIII. 



given, the Makololo had secured all the ivory in the Batoka 
country to the east, by purchasing it with hoes, the Ben- 
guela traders found it unprofitable to go thither for slaves. 
They assured us that without ivory the trade in slaves did 
not pay. In this way, and by the orders of Sekeletu, an 
extensive slave-mart was closed. These orders were never 
infringed except secretly. We discovered only two or three 
cases of their infraction. 

Fashion is as despotic in Sesheke and Linyanti as in 
London and Paris. The ladies will not wear beads which 
are out of fashion, however pretty they may be. The Chief 
is a great horse-fancier, and has invested pretty largely in 
horse-flesh ; but he has been very unlucky, nearly all his 
horses having died soon after being purchased. A party 
was sent last year to Benguela with ivory to purchase five 
horses, said to have been imported from Lisbon; all the 
animals died on the road, and the grieved drivers brought 
the five melancholy tails, and laid them before the Chief. 
" A native Portuguese at Bihe, one of the sleeping-stations, 
bewitched them ; they saw him look at the horses and touch 
them, and were sure that he bewitched them then, for they 
died soon after!" The universal belief in witchcraft, of 
which we ourselves have but recently got rid, is a great 
barrier to the progress of civilization. Two horses left by 
the Doctor in 1853 had lived, in spite of hard usage and 
perpetual hunting; this was, in the native opinion, because 
he loved the Makololo; while others, from whom they pur- 
chased horses, hated them and bewitched their horses. The 
treatment the poor beasts received could scarcely fail to 
prove fatal. A jolly set of young men, the Chief's bodyguard, 
had a rare sort of horse-racing ; cne mounted with neither 
saddle, bit, nor bridle, and, spreading out both arms, dashed 



Chap. XIII. 

off at full speed. When lie tumbled off, to the great amuse- 
ment of the by-standers, the servants caught the horse and 
rode off anywhere, leaving the fallen rider to return, rubbing 
his bruises. The poor horse was kept at this work till com- 
pletely exhausted, each of the guards being anxious to show 
that he could keep on longer than the others. This racing, 
and want of corn and care, would soon knock up any steeds 
they may obtain. The Doctor, when in Angola, happening 
to ride the horse of a gentleman at Pungo Andongo, re- 
marked to his companions, " This would do for Sekeletu." 
A party had been sent over a thousand miles to purchase 
it ; but it was now so altered as not to be recognisable. 
They had no grain at the time we were there, and but a 
little poor dry grass. 

The native produce cultivated in this, the centre of the 
continent, consists of mapira, or mabele (holcus sorghum), 
lobelebele or meshwera (pennisetum), millet, maize, ground- 
nuts (Arachis hypogced), underground beans (voandzeia), 
cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, mchae, or sweet-reed (holcus 
saecharatum), sweet potatoes, tobacco, cotton, and Indian 
hemp or Bang (Cannabis sativa) ; but wheat, rice, and yams 
they have never seen. Sugar-cane, bananas, and cassava 
grow in the Barotse valley. They have no garden vege- 
tables, nor any of the fruits found nearer the sea, such as 
mangoes and oranges, which have been introduced into 
Africa from other countries. 

We had ascertained at the Falls the sad fate of the 
Missionaries of the London Society. Our friend from Natal, 
Mr. Baldwin, had found them at a well in the desert suffering 
from hunger ; they had no horses, without which game there 
cannot easily be procured. They had failed to kill the 
rhinoceroses which came to the water at night; Mr. Bald- 

Chap. XIII. 



win kindly shot a couple of animals for them; but was 
apprehensive when he left them, that they would hardly 
live to see the Makololo country. They did reach Lin- 
yanti, however, though in that exhausted state on which 
the fever of the country is sure to fasten. The severe 
drought of that year had dried up the great marshes 
around the village, and rendered fever more than usually 
virulent. Aware, from Dr. Livingstone's description, of the 
extreme unhealthiness of the place, Mr. Helmore, who seems 
soon to have gained the people's confidence, told the Chief 
that he could not remain in that locality, but wished to go 
on to a higher and more healthy part, north-east of the 
Falls. Sekeletu said that he offered to take him to Sesheke 
to see if he liked that better than Linyanti. " You will take 
me also," said Mr. Helmore, "to see Mosi-oa-tunya," the 
picture of which, in 6 Missionary Travels,' was readily 
recognised ; but, while they were getting ready for the 
journey, the wagon-drivers were seized with fever ; Mrs. 
Helmore was the first white person who fell a victim to 
the fatal malady. The devoted missionary then told the 
people that, although his wife had died, he did not mean 
to leave them, but would remain and do his duty. Notwith- 
standing the hunger, toil, and exhaustion, consequent on 
the long journey through the desert, and this heavy affliction 
at Linyanti, the good man, already knowing the native 
language, at once commenced the work of preaching the 
Gospel. We heard some young men at Sesheke sing the 
^iymns he had taught them. All liked and spoke kindly 
of him ; and his death was generally regretted. It is 
probable that he would soon have exerted a powerful and 
happy influence over the tribe ; but in a month he was cut 
down by fever. Our information was derived entirely from 



Chap. XIII. 

tlie natives of the different tribes, which now form the 
Makololo. ' They are generally truthful, unless they have 
some self-interest at stake ; and they cannot be made to 
combine to propagate any downright falsehood. Taking 
their statements as probably true, the whole party consisted 
of twenty-two persons, of whom nine were Europeans, and 
thirteen people of colour ; of these five Euroj^eans and four 
natives perished by fever in less than three months. The 
missionary associate of Helmore was then left in a some- 
what trying position. Four out of the nine Europeans had 
succumbed to the disease, and his own wife was lying ill, and 
soon to be the fifth victim. He had been but a short time 
in Africa, his knowledge of the native language was of course 
limited, his influence small, and he had no experience : ac- 
cordingly he took the wise course of leaving the country ; 
his wife died before he reached the healthy desert. The 
native servants from the south, who had never seen the 
fever in their own country, thought that the party had been 
poisoned by the Makololo ; but, although they are heathens, 
and have little regard for human life, they are not quite so 
bad as that. The spear, and not poison, is their weapon. 
There is no occasion for suspecting other poison than malaria, 
that being more than enough. We have witnessed all the 
symptoms of this poison scores of times, and, from the survi- 
vors' description, believe the deaths to have been caused by 
severe African fever, and nothing else. We much regretted 
that, though we were on the same river lower down, we were 
not aware of their being at Linyanti till too late to render 
the medical aid they so much needed. It is undoubtedly 
advisable that every Mission should have a medical man as 
an essential part of its staff. 



Sekeletu and our presents — His idea of artillery practice — Sebituane's sister's 
description of the first appearance of fever — The Makololo the most intelli- 
gent of all the tribes seen by us — The Makololo of Old and Young Africa — 
The women, their appearance and ornaments — Results of polygamy — 
Respectability reckoned by the number of wives — Apparent, but not real, 
buying of wives — Elegant amusements of the ladies — Matokwane — 
Smoking, and its effects — Novel use of a spoon — Raw butter — Begging — 
The Chiefs perquisites — The Makololo who had seen the sea — Justice 
among the Makololo — The rights of labour — Religious instruction — 
Native views on matrimony — The Chief and the headmen — Capital 
punishment — An old warrior — Ancient costume of the Makololo — Houses 
built by the women — Amusements of the children — Makololo faith in 
medicine — Dr. Livingstone revisits Linyanti — The wagon left there in 
1853 is found in safe keeping, with its contents — A native Proclamation — 
Burial-place of Mr. Helmore and his companions — Faithfulness of the 
Makololo — Sekeletu's health improves — His esteem for Dr. Kirk — His 
desire for an English Settlement on the Batoka Highlands — Stealing cattle 
considered no Crime — Divine Service at Sesheke — Native doubts as to the 
possibility of a Resurrection. 

Sekeletu was well pleased with the various articles we 
brought for him, and inquired, if a ship could not bring 
his sugar-mill and the other goods we had been obliged to 
leave behind at Tette. On hearing that there was a possi- 
bility of a powerful steamer ascending as far as Sinamane's, 
but never above the Grand Victoria Falls, he asked, with 
charming simplicity, if a cannon could not blow away the 
Falls, so as to allow the vessel to come up to Sesheke. 

To save the tribe from breaking up, by the continual loss 
of real Makololo, it ought at once to remove to the healthy 
Batoka highlands, near the Kafue. Fully aware of this, Seke- 
letu remarked that all his people, save two, were convinced, 
that if they remained in the lowlands, a few years would 



suffice to cjit off all the real Makololo ; they came originally 
from the healthy South, near the confluence of the Likwa 
and Namagari, where fever is almost unknown, and its 
ravages had been as frightful among them here, as amongst 
Europeans on the Coast. Sebituane's sister described its first 
appearance among the tribe, after their settling in the Ba- 
rotse Valley on the Zambesi. Many of them were seized 
with a shivering sickness, as if from excessive cold : they 
had never seen the like before. They made great fires, 
and laid the shivering wretches down before them ; but, 
pile on wood as they might, they could not raise heat 
enough to drive the cold out of the bodies of the sufferers, 
and they shivered on till they died. But, though all preferred 
the highlands, they were afraid to go there, lest the Matebele 
should come and rob them of their much-loved cattle. Sebi- 
tuane, with all his veterans, could not withstand that enemy ; 
and how could they be resisted, now that most of the brave 
warriors were dead ? The young men would break, and run 
away the moment they saw the terrible Matebele ; being as 
much afraid of them, as the black conquered tribes are of 
the Makololo. "But if the Doctor and his wife," said the 
Chief and counsellors, " would come and live with us, we 
would remove to the highlands at once, as Moselekatse 
would not attack a place where the daughter of his friend, 
Moffat, was living." 

The Makololo are by far the most intelligent and 
enterprising of the tribes we have met. None but brave 
and daring men remained long with Sebituane, his stem 
discipline soon eradicated cowardice from his army. Death 
was the inevitable doom of the coward. If the Chief saw 
a man running away from the fight, he rushed after him 
with amazing speed, and cut him down; or waited till he 



returned to the town, and then summoned the deserter 
into his presence. "You did not wish to die on the field, 
you wished to die at home, did you ? you shall have your 
wish ! " and he was instantly led off and executed. The 
present race of young men are inferior in most respects to 
their fathers. The old Makololo had many manly virtues ; 
they were truthful, and never stole, excepting in what they 
considered the honourable way of lifting cattle in fair fight. 
But this can hardly be said of their sons ; who, having 
been brought up among the subjected tribes, have acquired 
some of the vices peculiar to a menial and degraded race. A 
few of the old Makololo cautioned us not to leave any of 
our property exposed, as the blacks were great thieves ; and 
some of our own men advised us to be on our guard, as the 
Makololo also would steal. A very few trifling articles were 
stolen by a young Makololo; and he, on being spoken to on 
the subject, showed great ingenuity in excusing himself, by a 
plausible and untruthful story. The Makololo of old were hard 
workers, and did not consider labour as beneath them ; but 
their sons never work, regarding it as fit only for the 
Mashona and Makalaka servants. Sebituane, seeing that 
the rival tribes had the advantage over his, in knowing how 
to manage canoes, had his warriors taught to navigate ; 
and his own son, with his companions, paddled the Chief's 
canoe. All the dishes, baskets, stools, and canoes, are 
made by the black tribes called Manyeti and Matlotlora. 
The houses are built by the women and servants. The Mako- 
lolo women are vastly superior to any we have yet seen. 
They are of a light warm brown complexion, have pleasant 
countenances, and are remarkably quick of apprehension. 
They dress neatly, wearing a kilt and mantle, and have 
many ornaments. Sebituane's sister, the head lady of 



Chap. XIV. 

Sesheke, wore eighteen solid brass rings, as thick as one's 
finger, on each leg, and three of copper under each knee ; 
nineteen brass rings on her left arm, and eight of brass 
and copper on her right, also a large ivory ring above 
each elbow. She had a pretty bead necklace, and a bead 
sash encircled her waist. The weight of the bright brass 
rings round her legs impeded her walking, and chafed 
her ankles; but, as it was the fashion, she did not mind 
the inconvenience, and guarded against the pain, by putting 
soft rag round the lower rings. 

The practice of polygamy, though intended to increase, 
tends to diminish the tribe. The wealthy old men, who have 
plenty of cattle, marry all the pretty young girls. An ugly 
but rich old fellow, who was so blind that a servant had to 
lead him along the path, had two of the very handsomest 
young wives in the town ; one of them, the daughter of 
Mokele, being at least half-a-century younger than himself, 
was asked, " Do you like him ?" " No," she replied ; " I hate 
him, he is so disagreeable." The young men of the tribe, who 
happen to have no cattle, must get on without a wife, or be 
content with one who has few personal attractions. This 
state of affairs probably leads to a good deal of immorality, 
and children are few. By pointed inquiries, and laying 
oneself out for that kind of knowledge, one might be able to 
say much more ; but if one behaves as he must do among the 
civilized, and abstains from asking questions, no improper 
hints even will be given by any of the native women we 
have met. 

Polygamy, the sign of low civilization, and the source of 
many evils, is common, and, oddly enough, approved of even 
by the women. On hearing that a man in England could 
marry but one wife, several ladies exclaimed that they would 


not like to live in such a country : they could not imagine 
how English ladies could relish our custom ; for, in their 
way of thinking, every man of respectability should have a 
number of wives, as a proof of his wealth. Similar ideas 
prevail all down the Zambesi. No man is respected by his 
neighbour who has not several wives. The reason for this is, 
doubtless, because, having the produce of each wife's garden, 
he is wealthy in proportion to their number. 

Wives are not bought and sold among the Makololo, 
though the marriage looks like a bargain. The husband, 
in proportion to his wealth, hands over to the father-in- 
law a certain number of cows, not as purchase-money for 
the bride, but to purchase the right to retain in his own 
family the children she may have ; otherwise the children 
would belong to the family of the wife's father. A man may 
have perfect control over his wife without this payment, but 
not of the children ; for, as the parents make a sacrifice of a 
portion of the family circle in parting with their daughter, 
the husband must sacrifice some of his property, to heal, as 
it were, that breach. It is not absolute separation, for, when 
a wife dies, the husband gives an ox again, to cause entire 
severance, or make her family " give her up." The Mako- 
lolo ladies have soft, small, delicate hands and feet; their 
foreheads are well shaped and of good size; the nose not 
disagreeably flat, though the alee are full; the mouth, 
chin, teeth, eyes, and general form are beautiful, and, con- 
trasted with the West-Coast negro, quite ladylike. Having 
maidservants to wait on them and perform the principal 
part of the household work, abundance of leisure time is 
left them, and they are sometimes at a loss to know what to 
do with it. Unlike their fairer and more fortunate sisters 
in Europe, they have neither sewing nor other needle- 


work, nor pianoforte practice, to occupy their fingers, nor 
reading 'to improve their minds ; few have children to at- 
tend to, and time does hang rather heavily on their hands. 
The men wickedly aver that their two great amusements, or 
modes for killing time, are sipping beer, and secretly smoking 
bang, or Indian hemp, here known as matokwane. Although 
the men indulge pretty freely in smoking it, they do not 
like their wives to follow their example, and many of the 
"monsters" prohibit it. Nevertheless, some women do 
smoke it secretly, and the practice causes a disease known 
by a minute eruption on the skin, quite incurable unless 
the habit be abandoned. The Chief himself is a slave to 
this deleterious habit, and could hardly be induced to give 
it up, even during the short time he was under medical treat- 
ment. We had ample opportunities for observing the ef- 
fects of this matokwane smoking on our men. It makes 
them feel very strong in body, but it produces exactly the 
opposite effect upon the mind. Two of our finest young 
men became inveterate smokers, and partially idiotic. 
The performances of a group of matokwane smokers are 
somewhat grotesque : they are provided with a calabash of 
pure water, a split bamboo, five feet long, and the great 
pipe, which has a large calabash or kudus horn chamber to 
contain the water, through which the smoke is drawn, Nar- 
ghille fashion, on its way to the mouth. Each smoker takes . 
a few whiffs, the last being an extra long one, and hands 
the pipe to his neighbour. He seems to swallow the fumes ; 
for, striving against the convulsive action of the muscles of 
chest and throat, he takes a mouthful of water from the cala- 
bash, waits a few seconds, and then pours water and smoke 
from his mouth down the groove of the bamboo. The smoke 
causes violent coughing in all, and in some a species of frenzy, 



which passes away in a rapid stream of unmeaning words, or 
short sentences, as, " the green grass grows," " the fat cattle 
thrive," "the fish swim." No one in the group pays the 
slightest attention to the vehement eloquence, or the sage or 
silly utterance of the oracle, who stops abruptly, and, the 
instant common sense returns, looks rather foolish. 

Our visit to Sesheke broke in upon the monotony of 
their daily life, and we had crowds of visitors both men 
and women ; especially at meal-times, for then they had 
the double attraction, of seeing white men eat, and of eat- 
ing with them. The men made an odd use of the spoon 
in supping porridge and milk, employing it to convey the 
food to the palm of the left hand, which passed it on to 
the mouth. We shocked the over-refined sensibilities of 
the ladies, by eating butter on our bread. " Look at them, 
look at them, they are actually eating raw butter, ugh ! 
how nasty!" or pitying us, a goodwife would say, "Hand 
it here to be melted, and then you can dip your bread 
into it decently." They were as much disgusted as we 
should be by seeing an Esquimaux eating raw whale's blub- 
ber. In their opinion butter is not fit to be eaten until it 
is cooked or melted. The principal use they make of it is 
to anoint the body, and it keeps the skin smooth and glossy. 
Men and women begged hard for such things as they 
fancied, and were not at ail displeased when refused : they 
probably thought there was no harm in asking; it did not 
hurt us, and cost their glib tongues no effort. Mamire 
asked for a black frock-coat, because he admired the colour ! 
When told he might have it for a nice new kaross of young 
lechweV skins, he smiled, and asked no more ; a joke usually 
stopped the begging. 

The Chief receives the hump and ribs of every ox slaught- 


ered by # his people, and tribute of corn, beer, honey, wild 
fruits, hoes, paddles, and canoes, from the Barotse, Manyeti, 
Matlotlora, and other subject tribes. The principal revenue, 
however, is derived from ivory. All the ivory of the country, 
in theory, belongs to the Chief, and the tusks of every 
elephant killed are placed at his disposal. This game-law 
at first sight seems more stringent than that of the Portu- 
guese, and of the tribes adjacent to them, where only one tusk 
belongs to Government, and the hunter retains the other. 
But here the Chief is expected to be generous, and, as a 
father among his children, to share the proceeds of the ivory 
with his people. They say, " Children require the guidance 
of their fathers, so as not to be cheated by foreigners." This 
reconciles them to the law. The upper classes, too, receive 
the lion's share of the profits from the elephant-hunt without 
undergoing much of the toil and danger; and the subject 
tribes get the flesh, which is all they ever had, and no one 
appears to have any wish to change the established custom. 
Our own men, however, had often discussed the rights of 
labour during their travels ; and, having always been paid by 
us for their work, had acquired certain new ideas, which 
rather jostled against this old law. They thought it unjust 
to be compelled to give up both tusks to the Chief : bad as 
the Portuguese were, they were not so oppressive as that ; 
they allowed the hunter one of the tusks ; Sekeletu's law was 
wrong ; they wished he would repeal it. This usage doubtless 
preserves the elephants, though that is not the object in view. 
Pitsane shot a few on his return from Angola, and then gave 
up hunting altogether. 

Moselekatse, too, claims all the ivory in his country, and 
allows no stranger even to hunt the elephant. A gentleman 
from Natal, ignorant of this prohibition, went with the inten- 



tion of shooting these animals, but was soon, taken up and 
carried before the Chief. He was kept a prisoner at large for 
three months, and allowed to hunt the buffalo, giraffe, rhino- 
ceros, and antelope as much as he pleased ; but the moment 
he began to follow the tracks of the elephant, his attendants, 
or keepers, turned his horse's head in the opposite direction. 

The Makololo man, Seroke, who had recently returned 
from Benguela, with the tails of the poor bewitched horses, 
called on us with some of his companions soon after our 
arrival. They had found out that all the Doctor had told 
them about the land being surrounded bv the ocean was true. 
They had seen the sea, and the wonders of the sea-shore, and 
ships, just as the Book had said : travellers alone knew any- 
thing, while those who knew not the Book, and remained at 
home, were mere children in knowledge. The merchants of 
Benguela had treated them kindly ; and, to encourage trade 
with the Makololo, had given to each one a liberal present of 
clothing. Before coming to visit us they put on all these new 
clothes, and were certainly better dressed than we were our- 
selves. They wore shirts, well washed and starched, coats, 
and trousers, white socks and patent-leather boots, a red 
Kilmarnock cowl on the head, and a brown wide-awake on 
the top of that. They had a long conversation with our men 
about the wonderful things they had seen, and all agreed 
that the Makololo who tarried at home were mere game, or 
beasts of the field. But their wealthier neighbours, referred 
to as poloholo, or game, were by no means disposed to admit 
that the travellers knew more than they did. "They had 
seen the sea, had they, and what is that? Nothing but 
water ; they could see plenty of water at home, — ay, more 
than they wanted to see ; and white people came to their 
towns : why then travel to the Coast, to look at them ?" 
, J ustice appears upon the whole to be pretty fairly admi- 



nistered among the Makololo. A headman took some beads 
and a blanket from one of his men who had been with us ; 
the matter was brought before the Chief, and he immediately 
ordered the goods to be restored, and decreed, moreover, that 
no headman should take the property of the men who had 
returned. In theory, all the goods brought back belonged to 
the Chief ; the men laid them at his feet, and made a formal 
offer of them all ; he looked at the articles, and told the men 
to keep them. This is almost invariably the case. Tuba 
Mokoro, however, fearing lest Sekeletu might take a fancy 
to some of his best goods, exhibited only a few of his old and 
least valuable acquisitions. Masakasa had little to show ; he 
had committed some breach of native law in one of the 
villages on the way, and paid a heavy fine rather than have 
the matter brought to the Doctor's ears. Each carrier is 
entitled to a portion of the goods in his bundle, though pur- 
chased by the Chief's ivory, and they never hesitate to claim 
their rights ; but no wages can be demanded from the Chief, 
if he fails to respond to the first application. 

Our men, accustomed to our ways, thought that the Eng- 
lish system of paying a man for his labour was the only 
correct one, and some even said it would be better to live 
under a Government where life and labour were more secure 
and valuable than here. While with us, they always conducted 
themselves with propriety during Divine service, and not only 
maintained decorum themselves, but insisted on other natives 
who might be present doing the same. When Moshobotwane, 
the Batoka chief, came on one occasion with a number of his 
men, they listened in silence to the reading of the Bible in 
the Makololo tongue ; but, as soon as we all knelt down to 
pray, they commenced a vigorous clapping of hands, their 
mode of asking a favour. Our indignant Makololo soon 
silenced their noisy accompaniment, and looked with great 



contempt on this display of ignorance. Nearly all our men 
had learned to repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' 
Creed in their own language, and felt rather proud of being 
able to do so ; and when they reached home, they liked to 
recite them to groups of admiring friends. Their ideas of 
right and wrong differ in no respect from our own, except 
in their professed inability to see how it can be improper 
for a man to have more than one wife. A year or two ago 
several of the wives of those who had been absent with us 
petitioned the Chief for leave to marry again. They thought 
that it was of no use waiting any longer, their husbands must 
be dead; but Sekeletu refused permission; he himself had 
bet a number of oxen that the Doctor would return with 
their husbands, and he had promised the absent men that 
their wives should be kept for them. The impatient spouses 
had therefore to wait a little longer. Some of them, how- 
ever, eloped with other men ; the wife of Mantlanyane, for 
instance, ran off and left his little boy amongst strangers. 
Mantlanyane was very angry when he heard of it, not 
that he cared much about her deserting him, for he had 
two other wives at Tette, but he was indignant at her 
abandoning his boy. 

While we were at Sesheke, an ox was killed by a croco- 
dile ; a man found the carcass floating in the river, and ap- 
propriated the meat. When the owner heard of this, he 
requested him to come before the Chief, as he meant to 
complain of him ; rather than go, the delinquent settled the 
matter by giving one of his own oxen in lieu of the lost one. 
A headman from near Linyanti came with a complaint that 
all his people had run off, owing to the " hunger." Sekeletu 
said, " You must not be left to grow lean alone, some of them 
must come back to you." He had thus an order to compel 
their return, if he chose to put it in force. Families fre- 

u 2 



Chap. XIV. 

quently leave their own headman and flee to another village, 
and sometimes a whole village decamps by night, leaving 
the headman by himself. Sekeletu rarely interfered with 
the liberty of the subject to choose his own headman, and, as 
it is often the fault of the latter which causes the people to 
depart, it is punishment enough for him to be left alone. 
Flagrant disobedience to the Chief's orders is punished with 
death. A Moshubia man was ordered to cut some reeds for 
Sekeletu : he went off, and hid himself for two days instead. 
For this he was doomed to die, and was carried in a canoe 
to the middle of the river, choked, and tossed into the 
stream. The spectators hooted the executioners, calling 
out to them that they too would soon be carried out and 
strangled. Occasionally when a man is sent to beat an 
offender, he tells him his object, returns, and assures the 
Chief he has nearly killed him. The transgressor then keeps ■ 
for a while out of sight, and the matter is forgotten. The 
river here teems with monstrous crocodiles, and women are 
frequently, while drawing water, carried off by these reptiles. 

We met a venerable warrior, sole survivor, probably, of the 
Mantatee host which threatened to invade the colony in 1824. 
He retained a vivid recollection of their encounter with the 
Griquas : " As we looked at the men and horses, puffs of 
smoke arose, and some of us dropped down dead ! " " Never 
saw anything like it in my life, a man's brains lying in one 
place and his body in another ! " They could not understand 
what was killing them; a ball struck a man's shield at an 
angle ; knocked his arm out of joint at the shoulder ; and 
leaving a mark, or burn as he said, on the shield, killed 
another man close by. We saw the man with his shoulder 
still dislocated. Sebetuane was present at the fight, and 
had an exalted opinion of the power of white people ever 

Chap. XIV. 



The ancient costume of the Makololo consisted of the 
skin of a lamb, kid, jackal, ocelot, or other small animal, 
worn round and below the loins: and in cold weather a 
kaross, or skin mantle, was thrown over the shoulders. The 
kaross is now laid aside, and the young men of fashion wear 
a monkey-jacket and a skin round the hips ; but no trousers, 
waistcoat, or shirt. The river and lake tribes are in general 
very cleanly, bathing several times a day. The Makololo 
women use water rather sparingly, rubbing themselves with 
melted butter instead : this keeps off parasites, but gives their 
clothes a rancid odour. One stage of civilization often leads 
of necessity to another — the possession of clothes creates a 
demand for soap ; give a man a needle, and he is soon back 
to you for thread. 

This being a time of mourning, on account of the illness of 
the Chief, the men were negligent of their persons, they did not 
cut their hair, or have merry dances, or carry spear and shield 
when they walked abroad. The wife of Pitsane was busy 
making a large hut, while we were in the town : she informed 
us that the men left house-building entirely to the women 
and servants. A round tower of stakes and reeds, nine or 
ten feet high, is raised and plastered; a floor is next made 
of soft tufa, or ant-hill material and cowdung. This plaster 
prevents the poisonous insects, called tampans, whose bite 
causes fever in some, and painful sores in all, from harbour- 
ing in the cracks or soil. The roof, which is much larger 
in diameter than the tower, is made on the ground, and 
then, many persons assisting, lifted up and placed on the 
tower, and thatched. A plastered reed fence is next built 
up to meet the outer part of the roof, which still projects a 
little over this fence, and a space of three feet remains be- 
tween it and the tower. We slept in this space, instead 
of in the tower, as the inner door of the hut we occupied 



was uncomfortably small, being only nineteen inches high, 
and twenty-two inches wide at the floor. A foot from the 
bottom it measured seventeen inches in breadth, and close 
to the top only twelve inches, so it was a difficult matter to 
get through it. The tower has no light or ventilation, except 
through this small door. The reason a lady assigned for hav- 
ing the doors so very small was to keep out the mice ! 

The children have merry times, especially in the cool of 
the evening. One of their games consists of a little girl 
being carried on the shoulders of two others. She sits with 
outstretched arms, as they walk about with her, and all the 
rest clap their hands, and stopping before each hut sing- 
pretty airs, some beating time on their little kilts of cowskin, 
others making a curious humming sound between the songs. 
Excepting this and the skipping-rope, the play of the girls 
consists in imitation of the serious work of their mothers, 
building little huts, making small pots, and cooking, pound- 
ing corn in miniature mortars, or hoeing tiny gardens. The 
boys play with spears of reeds pointed with wood, and 
small shields, or bows and arrows ; or amuse themselves in 
making little cattle-pens, or in moulding cattle in clay; 
they show great ingenuity in the imitation of various-shaped 
horns. Some too are said to use slings, but as soon as they 
can watch the goats, or calves, they are sent to the field. 
We saw many boys riding on the calves they had in charge, 
but this is an innovation since the arrival of the English 
with their horses. Tselane, one of the ladies, on observing 
Dr. Livingstone noting observations on the wet and dry bulb 
thermometers, thought that he too was engaged in play; 
for on receiving no reply to her question, which was rather 
difficult to answer, as the native tongue has no scientific 
terms, she said, with roguish glee, " Poor thing, playing like 
a little child ! " 

Chap. XIV. 



Like other Africans, the Makololo have great faith in the 
power of medicine ; they believe that there is an especial 
medicine for every ill that flesh is heir to. Mamire is anxious 
to have children; he has six wives, and only one boy, and 
he begs earnestly for " child medicine." The mother of 
Sekeletu came from the Barotse Valley to see her son. 
Thinks she has lost flesh since Dr. Livingstone was here 
before, and asks for " the medicine of fatness." The Makololo 
consider plumpness an essential part of beauty in women, 
but the extreme stoutness, mentioned by Captain Speke, in 
the north, would be considered hideous here, for the men 
have been overheard speaking of a lady whom we call " in- 
clined to embonpoint" as " fat unto ugliness." 

Two packages from the Kuruman, containing letters and 
newspapers, reached Linyanti previous to our arrival, and 
Sekeletu, not knowing when we were coming, left them there ; 
but now at once sent a messenger for them. This man 
returned on the seventh day, having travelled 240 geographi- 
cal miles. One of the packages was too heavy for him, and he 
left it behind. As the Doctor wished to get some more medi- 
cine and papers out of the wagon feft at Linyanti in 1853, 
he decided upon going thither himself. The Chief gave him 
his own horse, now about twelve years old, and some men. 
He found everything in his wagon as safe as when he left it 
seven years before. The headmen, Mosale and Pekonyane, 
received him cordially, and lamented that they had so little 
to offer him. Oh! had he only arrived the year previous, 
when there was abundance of milk and corn and beer. 

Yery early the next morning the old town-crier, Ma~Pulen- 
yane, of his own accord made a public proclamation, which, 
in the perfect stillness of the town long before dawn was 
striking: "I have dreamed! I have dreamed! I have dreamed! 
Thou Mosale and thou Pekonyane, my lords, be not faint- 



Chap. XIV. 

hearted, nor let your hearts be sore, but believe all the words 
of Monare (the Doctor) for his heart is white as milk towards 
the Makololo. I dreamed that he was coming, and that the 
tribe would live, if you prayed to God and gave heed to the 
word of Monare." Ma-Pulenyane showed Dr. Livingstone 
the burying-place where poor Helmore and seven others were 
laid, distinguishing those whom he had jmt to rest, and those 
for whom Mafale had performed that last office. Nothing 
whatever marked the spot, and with the native idea of hiding 
the dead, it was said, "It will soon be all overgrown with 
bushes, for no one will cultivate there.'' None but Ma- 
Pulenyane approached the place, the others stood at a re- 
spectful distance ; they invariably avoid everything connected 
with death, and no such thing as taking portions of human 
bodies to make charms of, as is the custom further north, 
has ever been known among the Makololo. 

When the wagon was left eight years before, several loose 
articles, as the medicine-chest, magic lantern, tools, and books, 
were given, by Sekeletu, into the charge of his wives. Every- 
thing was now found in safety. The wagon was in sufficiently 
good condition for the Doctor to sleep in, though the cover- 
ing had partly rotted off, and when the Chief was absent at 
the Barotse, the white ants had destroyed one of the wheels. 
Sekeletu's wives, Seipone and Mantu, without being asked, 
cooked abundance of good beef, and baked a large supply of 
little cakes after the pattern which the Makololo, who went to 
Loanda, had brought back to them. With gentle reproaches 
for not bringing Ma-Eobert, or Mrs. Livingstone, they re- 
peated some of the prattle of her children in Sechuana, and 
said, "Are we never more to know anything of them but 
their names?" These little points are noticed with feelings 
of gratitude for abundant and unvarying kindness on nu- 
merous occasions during many years. But no man in his 


senses would suppose that the confidence which inspired 
these kind expressions would be imparted at sight to any 
novice. It ought never to be forgotten that influence among 
the heathen can be acquired only by a patient continuance 

barbarians, as among the civilized. 

Among the articles put into the hands of Sekeletu's wives 
for greater security were two manuscript volumes of notes, 
which, on starting in 1853 from the interior to the West 
Coast, Dr. Livingstone wished, in the event of his never re- 
turning from that hazardous journey, to be transmitted to 
his family. A letter was left with them, addressed to any 
English traveller or trader, and expressing a desire that the 
volumes might be handed to Mr. Moffat. One contained 
notes on the discovery of Lake Ngami, and on the Kalahari 
Desert ; the other, notes on its natural history. The Mako- 
lolo, who had guarded all the rest of the property most faith- 
fully, declared that they had delivered the books to one of 
the only two traders who had visited them. When they 
were now told that the person in question denied their recep- 
tion, Seipone, one of Sekeletu's wives, said, "He lies, I gave 
them to him myself." Conscience seems to have worked; 
for the trader, having gone to Moselekatse's country, one of 
the volumes was put into the mail-bag coming from the 
south, which came to hand with the lock taken off in quite a 
scientific manner. 

Taking a supply of the medicine, which had been lying only 
a hundred yards from the spot where the Missionaries helplessly 
perished^the Doctor returned towards Sesheke. The journey 
took three days each way. The path leads through a district 
infested by tsetse ; to preserve the horses from being bitten, 
this was passed through by night. The party slept at the j 
different Makololo cattle-stations. / At one a lion had been I 

in well-doing, and that good manners are as necessary among 




killed by a serpent. We have often heard of animals being so 
killed ; but in a twenty-two years' residence in the country, 
Dr. Livingstone has only met with one case in which the 
bite was fatal to a human being. Ipecacuanha mixed with 
ammonia, and rubbed into the wound, is much esteemed 
in India. A key, pressed! on the puncture for some time, 
extracts the poison ; and when ipecacuanha is not at hand, 
a little powder ignited on the spot will do instead. Very 
large herds of kualatas were seen on the plains, and many 
black bucks, though their habitat is generally on the hills.* 

Sekeletu's health improved greatly during our visit, the 
melancholy foreboding left his spirits, and he became cheer- 
ful, but resolutely refused to leave his den, and appear in 
public till he was perfectly cured, and had regained what he 
considered his good looks. He also feared lest some of those 
who had bewitched him originally might still be among the 
people, and neutralize our remedies.! 

As we expected another steamer to be at Kongone in 

* A female kualata (Aigoceros 
equina) shot here measured — 

ft. in. 

At withers 4 8 

Entire length 6 3 

Length of horn 2 2 

Half circumference at chest 2 8 

These measurements may be inte- 
resting to those who try to accli- 
matize animals. The elands in Eng- 
land are small. One we measured 
in Africa in 1849 was six feet four 
inches at the withers, and it seemed 
an animal of only ordinary size. Its 
power of taking on fat, and the 
quantity of fluid found in its stomach 
in the driest season, are quite remark- 
able. It browses chiefly on the 
leaves of trees. 

t It was with sorrow that we learned 
by a letter from Mr. Moffat, in 1864, 

that poor Sekeletu was dead. As will 
be mentioned further on, men were 
sent with us to bring up more medi- 
cine. They preferred to remain on 
the Shire, and, as they were free men, 
we could do no more than try and per- 
suade them to hasten back to their 
chief with iodine and other remedies. 
They took the parcel, but there being 
only two real Makololo among them, 
these could neither return themselves 
alone nor force their attendants to 
leave a part of the country where 
they were independent, and could 
support themselves with ease. Seke- 
letu, however, lived long enough to 
receive and acknowledge goods to 
the value of 50Z., sent, in lieu of 
those which remained in Tette, by 
Eobert Moffat, jun., since dead. 


November, it was impossible for us to remain in Sesheke more 
than one month. Before our departure, the Chief and his 
principal men expressed in a formal manner their great 
desire to have English people settled on the Batoka high- 
lands. At one time he proposed to go as far as Phori, in 
order to select a place of residence; but as he afterwards 
saw reasons for remaining where he was, till his cure was 
completed, he gave orders to those sent with us, in the event 
of our getting, on our return, past the rapids near Tette, not 
to bring us to Sesheke, but to send forward a messenger, 
and he with the whole tribe would come to us. Dr. Kirk 
being of the same age, Sekeletu was particularly anxious that 
he should come and live with him. He said he would cut off 
a section of the country for the special use of the English; and 
on being told that in all probability their descendants would 
cause disturbance in his country, he replied, "These would 
be only domestic feuds, and of no importance." The great 
extent of uncultivated land on the cool and now unpeopled 
highlands, has but to be seen, to convince the spectator 
how much room there is, and to spare, for a vastly greater 
population than ever, in our day, can be congregated there. 

The agricultural tribes are more peaceful than the pastoral. 
The Makololo are both pastoral and agricultural, and their 
love for lifting cattle often leads them to great distances. 
This marauding, if sanctioned by the Chief, is not considered 
dishonest or dishonourable, for they laugh if they are charged 
with cattle-stealing, and assert that they have lifted them 
only. As in the tribes nearer the Coast slave-trading is the 
gigantic evil, which must be grappled with, if any good is 
to be done ; so here it was necessary frequently, yet in a 
kindly way, to point out the evils of marauding. A wagon 
with Mr. Helmore's name on it being in the Chief's possession, 
a doubt was expressed whether the person said to have given 



Chap. XIV. 

it had any power to dispose of the property of the orphan 
children ; and Sekeletu was told that should Mr. Moffat, in 
answer to a letter, say that the doubt had weight, the wagon 
ought to be paid for in ivory : this the Chief readily agreed 
to ; and had it been possible for one with the wisdom, experi- 
ence, and conciliating manners of Mr. Moffat to have visited 
the Makololo, he would have found them easily influenced to 
fairness, and not at all the unreasonable savages they were re- 
presented to be. Unquestionably a great amount of goodness 
exists in the midst of all their evil ; and we know of no more 
desirable field for an active and sensible missionary. 

In trying to benefit them it was often pointed out that 
the necessary consequence of these lawless forays, such as 
that they had made the year before against a tribe ofDamaras 
to the west, was to produce a lawless state at home. They 
did not relish the idea of the reflected action on themselves, 
nor did they like being plainly told that those who shed the 
blood of other tribes, and then returned to kill each other at 
home on charges of witchcraft, were the only real sorcerers ; 
that murdering the children of the same Great Father, for the 
sake of cattle which did not belong to them, entailed guilt 
in His sight ; that those who gave no peace to others could 
hope from the Supreme Euler for none among themselves. 
It all seemed reasonable and true ; they would not dispute it; 
"They needed the Book of God. But the hearts of black 
men are not the same as those of the whites. They had real 
sorcerers among them. If that was guilt which custom led 
them to do, it lay between the white man and Jesus, who had 
not given them the Book, nor favoured them as He had the 
whites." None ever attempted to justify the shedding of 
human blood ; but some, in reference to cattle-lifting, said, 
" Why should these Makalaka — " a term of contempt for all 
the blacker tribes — " possess cattle if they cannot fight for 



them ? " Ma-Sekeletu asserted that it was Moselekatse who 
had made the Makololo covetous, or yellow-hearted, pelutsetla. 
He had taken their cattle, and subsequent hunger had made 
them greedy of the oxen of other tribes. She being the 
chief's mother, we may imagine what his education on the 
maternal side has been. They often try to make peace, not- 
withstanding, amongst themselves. Two men were wrangling 
and cursing each other one day, when Moikele, a Makololo 
man, rose, and, to prevent mischief, quietly took their spears 
from the corner in which they stood, and sitting down beside 
Dr. Livingstone remarked, " It is the nature of bulls to gore 
each other." This is probably the idea that lies at the 
bottom of Muscular Heathenism, if not of Muscular Chris- 

On the last occasion of our holding Divine service at 
Sesheke, the men were invited to converse on the subject on 
which they had been addressed. So many of them had died 
since we were here before, that not much probability existed 
of our all meeting again, and this had naturally led to the 
subject of a future state. They replied that they did not 
wish to offend the speaker, but they could not believe that 
all the dead would rise again : " Can those who have been 
killed in the field and devoured by the vultures; or those 
who have been eaten by the hyenas or lions ; or those who 
have been tossed into the river, and eaten by more than 
one crocodile, — can they all be raised again to life ? " They 
were told that men could take a leaden bullet, change it 
into a salt (acetate of lead), which could be dissolved as 
completely in water, as our bodies in the stomachs of ani- 
mals, and then reconvert it into lead; or that the bullet 
could be transformed into the red and white paint of our 
wagons, and again be reconverted into the original lead ; 
and that if men exactly like themselves could do so much, 



Chap. XIV. 

how much more could He do, who had made the eye to 
see, and the ear to hear ! We added, however, that we be- 
lieved in a resurrection, not because we understood how it 
would be brought about, but because our Heavenly Father 
assured us of it in His Book. The reference to the truth of 
the Book and its Author seems always to have more influence 
on the native mind than the cleverness of the illustration. 
The knowledge of the people is scanty, but their reasoning 
is generally clear as far as their information goes. 

Chap. XV. 




Departure from Sesheke, 17th of September, 1860 — Convoyed by Pitsane and 
Leshore — Embassy to Sinamane — Leshore and his crew — Mobita and the 
canoe-men — Zambesi fish, Ngwesi and Konokono — Fish-bone medicine 

— Eenew the garden at Mosi-oa-tunya — Kalunda and Moamba Falls — 
Native desire of pleasing — Hospitality of the Batoka — Native fruits — 
Valuable oil-yielding tree — Indian trees in centre of Africa — Golongwe 

— Great heat — Corns on the feet not peculiar to the civilized — River 
Longkwe — Gipsy bellows in Africa — Tin — Chilombe Islet — Native dress 

— Sinamane and his long spears. 

We left Seslieke on the 17th September, 1860, convoyed by 
Pitsane and Leshore with their men. Pitsane was ordered 
by Sekeletu to make a hedge round the garden at the Falls, 
to protect the seeds we had brought ; and also to collect some 
of the tobacco tribute below the Falls. Leshore, besides 
acting as a sort of guard of honour to us, was sent on a 
diplomatic mission to Sinamane. No tribute was exacted 
by Sekeletu from Sinamane; but, as he had sent in his 
adhesion, he was expected to act as n guard in case of the 
Matebele wishing to cross and attack the Makololo. As we 
intended to purchase canoes of Sinamane in which to descend 
the river, Leshore was to commend us to whatever help this 
Batoka chief could render. It must be confessed that Le- 
shore's men, who were all of the black subject tribes, really 
needed to be viewed by us in the most charitable light; 
for Leshore, on entering any village, called out to the in- 
habitants, " Look out for your property, and see that my 
thieves don't steal it." 

Two young Makololo with their Batoka servants accom- 
panied us to see if Kebrabasa could be surmounted, and 
to bring a supply of medicine for Sekeletu's leprosy; and 



half a. dozen able eanoe-men, under Mobita, who had pre- 
viously gone with Dr. Livingstone to Loanda, were sent to 
help us in our river navigation. Some men on foot drove 
six oxen which Sekeletu had given us as provisions for the 
journey. It was, as before remarked, a time of scarcity ; 
and, considering the dearth of food, our treatment had been 

By day the canoe-men are accustomed to keep close under 
the river's bank from fear of the hippopotami ; by night, 
however, they keep in the middle of the stream, as then 
those animals are usually close to the bank on their way to 
their grazing-grounds. Our progress was considerably im- 
peded by the high winds, which at this season of the year 
begin about eight in the morning, and blow strongly up 
the river all day. The canoes were poor leaky affairs, and 
so low in parts of the gunwale, that the paddlers were afraid 
to follow the channel when it crossed the river, lest the 
waves might swamp us. A rough sea is dreaded by all 
these inland canoe-men ; but, though timid, they are by 
no means unskilful at their work. The ocean rather asto- 
nished them afterwards ; and also the admirable way that 
the Nyassa men managed their canoes on a rough lake, and 
even amongst the breakers, where no small boat could pos- 
sibly live. 

On the night of the 17th we slept on the left bank of the 
Majeele, after having had all the men ferried across. An ox 
was slaughtered, and not an ounce of it was left next morning. 
Our two young Makololo companions, Moloka and Eamaku- 
kane, having never travelled before, naturally clung to some 
of the luxuries they had been accustomed to at home. 
When they lay down to sleep, their servants were called to 
spread their blankets o'ver their august persons, not forgetting 
their feet. This seems to be the duty of the Makololo wife 

Chap. XV. 



to her husband, and strangers sometimes receive the honour. 
One of our party, having wandered, slept at the village of 
Nambowe. When he laid down, to his surprise two of Nam- 
bowe's wives came at once, and carefully and kindly spread 
his kaross over him. 

A beautiful silvery fish with reddish fins, called Ngwesi, is 
very abundant in the river ; large ones weigh fifteen or twenty 
pounds each. Its teeth are exposed, and so arranged that,, 
when they meet, the edges cut a hook like nippers. The 
Ngwesi seems to be a very ravenous fish. It often gulps down 
the Konokono, a fish armed with serrated bones more than an 
inch in length in the pectoral and dorsal fins, which, fitting 
into a notch at the roots, can be put by the fish on full cock or 
straight out, — they cannot be folded down, without its will, 
and even break in resisting. The name " Konokono," elbow- 
elbow, is given it from a resemblance its extended fins are 
supposed to bear to a man's elbows stuck out from his body. 
It often performs the little trick of cocking its fins in the 
stomach of the Ngwesi, and, the elbows piercing its enemy's 
sides, he is frequently found floating dead. The fin bones 
seem to have an acrid secretion on them, for the wound they 
make is excessively painful. The Konokono barks distinctly 
when landed with the hook. Our canoe-men invariably 
picked up every dead fish they saw on the surface of the 
water, however far gone. An unfragrant odour was no 
objection ; the fish was boiled and eaten, and the water 
drunk as soup. It is a curious fact that many of the 
Africans keep fish as we do woodcocks, until they are 
extremely offensive, before they consider them fit to eat. 
Our paddlers informed us on our way down that iguanas 
lay their eggs in July and August, and crocodiles in Septem- 
ber. The eggs remain a month or two under the sand where- 
they are laid, and the young come out when the rains have 



fairly commenced. The canoe-men were quite positive that 
crocodiles frequently stun men by striking them with their 
tails, and then squat on them till they are drowned. We 
once caught a young crocodile, which certainly did use its tail 
to inflict sharp blows, and led us to conclude that the native 
opinion is correct. They believed also that, if a person shuts 
the beast's eyes, it lets go its hold. Crocodiles have been 
known to unite and kill a large one of their own species and 
eat it.* Some fishermen throw the bones of the fish into 
the river, but in most of the fishing villages there are heaps 
of them in various places. The villagers can walk over them 
without getting them into their feet ; but the Makololo, from 
having softer soles, are unable to do so. The explanation 
offered was, that the fishermen have a medicine against 
fish-bones, but that they will not reveal it to the Makololo. 

We spent a night on Mparira island, which is four miles 
long and about one mile broad. Mokompa, the headman, 
was away hunting elephants. His wife sent for him on our 
arrival, and he returned next morning before we left. Taking 
advantage of the long-continued drought, he had set fire to 
the reeds between the Chobe and Zambesi, in such a manner 
as to drive the game out at one corner, where his men laid 
in wait with their spears. He had killed five elephants and 
three buffaloes, wounding several others which escaped. 

On our land party coming up, we were told that the oxen 
were bitten by the tsetse : they could see a great difference 

* A greater variety of fishes are 
on the same authority found above 
than below the Falls. Of those above 
they name : — Mpofu — Mo — Nijnje — 
Ngwesi — Moshona — Nembwe — Seeo 
Lobotu — Lobangwa — Motome — Ne- 
mbele — Litore — Leshuala or Ndombe 
— Linyonga — Mpala — Joruugo — 

Likeya — Moshiba — Bundo — Seto — 
Minga — Lisinje. 

In addition to these, say twenty 
fishes, they mention Mumbo, called 
also by the Bashubia Mohumbwe, 
which seems to be a kind of saw-fish, 
and Likala, or nala, the Lepidosiren 
in the Barotse Valley. 



in their looks. One was already eaten, and they now wished to 
slaughter another^/ A third fell into a buffalo-pit next day, 
so our stock was soon reduced. A man, who accompanied 
us to the Falls, was a great admirer of the ladies. Every 
pretty girl he saw filled his heart with rapture. " Oh, what 
a beauty ! never saw her like before ; I wonder if she is 
married ?" and earnestly and lovingly did he gaze after the 
charming one till she had passed out of sight. He had four 
wives at home, and hoped to have a number more before 
long, but he had only one child ; this Mormonism does not 
seem to satisfy; it leads to a state of mind which, if not 
disease, is truly contemptible. The Batoka Chief, Moshobot- 
wane, again treated us with his usual hospitality, giving us 
an ox, some meal, and milk. We took another view of the 
grand Mosi-oa-tunya, and planted a quantity of seeds in the 
garden on the island ; but, as no one will renew the hedge, 
the hippopotami will, doubtless, soon destroy what we planted. 
Mashotlane assisted us. So much power was allowed to this 
under-chief, that he appeared as if he had cast off the 
authority of Sekeletu altogether. He did not show much 
courtesy to his messengers ; instead of giving them food, as 
is customary, he took the meat out of a pot in their presence, 
and handed it to his own followers. This may have been 
because Sekeletu's men bore an order to him to remove to 
Linyanti. He u had not only insulted Baldwin, but had also 
driven away the Griqua traders; but this may all end in 
nothing. Some of the natives here, and at Sesheke, know 
a few of the low tricks of more civilized traders. A pot 
of milk was brought to us one evening, which was more 
indebted to the Zambesi than to any cow. Baskets of fine- 
looking white meal, elsewhere, had occasionally the lower half 
filled with bran. Eggs are always a perilous investment. 
The native idea of a good egg differs as widely from our own 

x 2 



Chap. XV, 

as is possible on such a trifling subject. An egg is eaten here 
with apparent relish, though an embryo chick be inside. 

We left Mosi-oa-tunya on the 27th, and slept close to the 
village of Bakwini. It is built on a ridge of loose red soil, 
which produces great crops of mapira and ground-nuts ; many 
magnificent mosibe-trees stand near the village. Machimisi, 
the headman of the village, possesses a herd of cattle and a 
large heart ; he kept us company for a couple of days to guide 
us on our way. 

We had heard a good deal of a stronghold some miles 
below the Falls, called Kalunda. Our return path was 
much nearer the Zambesi than that of our ascent, — in fact, 
as near as the rough country would allow, — but we left it 
twice before we reached Sinamane's, in order to see Kalunda 
and a Fall called Mooniba, or Moamba. The Makololo had 
once dispossessed the Batoka of Kalunda, but we could not 
see the fissure, or whatever it is, that rendered it a place 
of security, as it was on the southern bank. The crack of the 
Great Falls was here continued: the rocks are the same as 
further up, but perhaps less weather-worn — and now partially 
stratified in great thick masses. The country through which 
we were travelling was covered with a cindery-looking 
volcanic tufa, and might be called " Katakaumena." 

The description we received of the Moamba Falls seemed 
to promise something grand. They were said to send up 
" smoke " in the wet season, like Mosi-oa-tunya ; but when 
we looked down into the cleft, in which the dark-green 
narrow river still rolls, we saw, about 800 or 1000 feet 
below us, what, after Mosi-oa-tunya, seemed two insigni- 
ficant cataracts. It was evident, that Pitsane, observing our 
delight at the Victoria Falls, wished to increase our pleasure 
by a second wonder. One Mosi-oa-tunya, however, is quite 
enough for a continent. 

Chap. XV. 



The natives of Africa have an amiable desire to please, and 
often tell what they imagine will be gratifying, rather than 
the uninteresting naked truth. Let a native from the 
interior be questioned by a thirsty geographer, whether the 
mountains round his youthful home are high ; from a dim 
recollection of something of the sort, combined with a desire 
to please, the answer will be in the affirmative. And so it 
will be if the subject of inquiry be gold or unicorns, or men 
with tails. English sportsmen, though first-rate shots at 
home, are notorious for the number of their misses on first 
trying to shoot in Africa. Everything is on such a large 
scale, and there is such a glare of bright sunlight, that some 
time is required to enable them to judge of distances. " Is 
it wounded ? " inquired a gentleman, of his dark attendant, 
after firing at an antelope, " Yes ! the ball went right 
into his heart." These mortal wounds never proving 
fatal, he asked a friend, who understood the language, to 
explain to the man, that he preferred the truth in every 
case. " He is my father," replied the native, " and I thought 
he would be displeased if I told him that he never hits at all." 
But great as this failing is among the free, it is much more 
annoying among the slaves. One can scarcely induce a 
slave to translate anything truly : he is so intent on 
thinking of what will please. By far the greatest wonder 
of Captain Speke and Grant's journey was, that they accom- 
plished it with slaves. 

We had now an opportunity of seeing more of the Batoka, 
than we had on the highland route to our north. They did 
not wait till the evening before offering food to the strangers. 
The aged wife of the headman of a hamlet, where we rested 
at midday, at once kindled a fire, and put on the cooking- 
pot to make porridge. Both men and women are to be 
distinguished by greater roundness of feature than the other 



Chap. XV. 

natives, and the custom of knocking out the upper front 
teeth gives at once a distinctive character to the face. Their 
colour attests the greater altitude of the country in which 
many of them formerly lived. Some, however, are as dark 
as the Bashubia and Barotse of the great valley to their west, 
in which stands Sesheke, formerly the capital of the Balui, or 

The assertion may seem strange, yet it is none the less 
true, that in all the tribes we have visited we never saw a 
really black person. Different shades of brown prevail, and 
often with a bright bronze tint, which no painter, except Mr. 
Angus, seems able to catch. Those who inhabit elevated, 
dry situations, and who are not obliged to work much in 
the sun, are frequently of a light warm brown, "dark but 
comely." Darkness of colour is probably partly caused by 
the sun, and partly by something in the climate or soil which 
we do not yet know. We see something of the same sort 
in trout and other fish which take their colour from the 
ponds or streams in which they live. The members of our 
party were much less embrowned by free exposure to the sun 
for years than Dr. Livingstone and his family were by passing 
once from Kuruman to Cape Town, a journey which occupied 
only a couple of months. 

What the peculiarity of climate is, which favours the 
deposition of colouring matter in the skin and hair, is yet 
unknown; but, in some cases observed, colour was not a 
matter of race, for, after long residence in a hot country, a 
wound or boil heals much darker than the rest of the body. 
The hair of the Africans, microscopists inform us, is not really 
wool, but a growth of identically the same nature as our own, 
only with a greater amount of the pigment deposited. It is 
not at all unusual to meet Europeans with hair darker than 
the African; and with Africans, whose hair has a distinct 

Chap. XY. 



reddish tinge, and who have the same nervo-sanguineous 
temperament as the Xanthous varieties of other races. 

But few good-looking women appear in the first Bat oka 
villages ; because the Makololo marry all the pretty girls. In 
one village we saw on a pole the head of a crocodile. It 
had entered by night the enclosure constructed to protect 
the women when drawing water, and caught one of them : the 
men rushed to the rescue, killed the monster, and stuck his 
head on a pole, as they were wont to do the heads of human 
criminals and of strangers. 

A strong clannish feeling exists among the Batoka, as 
among all the other tribes. In travelling, those belonging to 
one tribe always keep by themselves, and help one another. 
The Batoka, like the Bushmen, excel in following the track of a 
wounded animal ; it is part of their education. They are also 
good climbers, from being accustomed to collect wild fruits. 

We passed over a rugged country, with many hills and 
perennial streams, of which the Sindi was the finest for irriga- 
tion. On returning from Moamba to the Sincli we found our 
luggage had gone on, and, as the chronometer was with it, 
we had to follow it up on Sunday ; we all felt sorely the 
want of the Sabbath through the following week. Apart 
from any Divine command, a periodical day of repose is 
absolutely necessary for the human frame. 

We encamped on the Kalomo, on the 1st of October, and 
found the weather very much warmer than when we crossed 
this stream in August. At 3 p.m., the thermometer, four 
feet from the ground, was 101° in the shade ; the wet bulb 
only 61°: a difference of 40°. Yet, notwithstanding this 
extreme dryness of the atmosphere, without a drop of rain 
having fallen for months, and scarcely any dew, many of the 
shrubs and trees were putting forth fresh leaves of various 
hues, while others made a profuse display of lovely blossoms. 



Chap. XV. 

Near the sites of ruined Batoka villages are always seen the 
Mochenje Milo, Bc-ma, Mosibe, Motsintsela, and several other 
kinds of native fruits ; Dr. Kirk found the Maniosho-mosho, 
.and Milo to be Cinchonaceous trees. The Mosibe he con- 
sidered identical with capaifera hymencefolia of Cuba, a tree 
of which but little is yet known. As this tree is absent from 
the eastern and western slopes of the continent of Africa, and 
not met with on the East Coast, our finding it in this remote 
part, with other trees showing a relationship to India, is very 
interesting, as indicating that much is unknown in the migra- 
tions of plants. The Bom a is a Yitex nearly allied to a Mada- 
gascar tree. It yields a very valuable oil-nut, and grows 
abundantly at Lake Nyassa, as well as in these quarters. 
The Mamosho-mosho is the best fruit in the country, but we, 
being glad of any fruit, are unable to say whether Europeans 
in general would esteem it as highly as the natives do. 
The edible part of uncultivated fruits is usually very small. 
One of our men speared a conger eel, four feet seven inches 
in length, and ten-and-a-half inches round the neck; it is 
here called Mokonga. 

Two old and very savage buffaloes were shot for our 
companions on the 3rd October. Our Volunteers may feel 
sin interest in knowing that balls sometimes have but little 
effect: one buffalo fell, on receiving a Jacob's shell; it was 
hit again twice, and lost a large amount of blood ; and yet 
it sprang up, and charged a native, who, by great agility, 
had just time to climb a tree, before the maddened beast 
•struck it, battering-ram fashion, hard enough almost to have 
split both head and tree. It paused a few seconds— drew 
back several paces — glared up at the man — and then dashed 
at the tree again and again, as if determined to shake him 
out of it. It took two more Jacob's shells, and five other 
large solid rifle-balls to finish the beast at last. These old 

Chap, XV. 



surly buffaloes had been wandering about in a sort of miser- 
able fellowship ; their skins were diseased and scabby, as 
if leprous, and their horns atrophied or worn down to 
stumps — the first was killed outright, by one Jacob's shell, 
the second died hard. There is so much difference in the 
tenacity of life in wounded animals of the same species, 
that the inquiry is suggested where the seat of life can be ? 
We have seen a buffalo live long enough, after a large bullet 
had passed right through the heart, to allow firm adherent 
clots to be formed in the two holes. 

One day's journey above Sinamane's, a mass of mountain 
called Gorongue, or Golongwe, is said to cross the river, and 
the rent through which the river passes is, by native report, 
quite fearful to behold. The country round it is so rocky, 
that our companions dreaded the fatigue and were not much 
to blame, if, as is probably the case, the way be worse than 
that over which we travelled. As we trudged along over 
the black slag-like rocks, the almost leafless trees afford- 
ing no shade, the heat was quite as great as Europeans 
could bear. It was 102° in the shade, and a thermometer 
placed under the tongue or armpit rhowed that our blood 
was 9 9 "5°, or 1-5° hotter than that of the natives, which 
stood at 98°. Our shoes, however, enable us to pass over 
the hot burning soil better than they can. Many of those 
who wear sandals have corns on the sides of the feet, and 
on the heels, where the straps pass. We have seen in- 
stances, too, where neither sandals nor shoes were worn, of 
corns on the soles of the feet. It is, moreover, not at all 
uncommon to see toes cocked up, as if pressed out of their 
proper places ; at home, we should have unhesitatingly as- 
cribed this to the vicious fashions perversely followed by our 

The Longkwe, or, as the Makololo call it, the river of Quai, 



Chap. XV. 

or tobacco, comes in from the country of Moselekatse, or 
from tne south-east, and joins the Zambesi above Golongwe. 
This fact may corroborate what is said by Mr. Thomas, 
that all the rivers rising on the one side of Moselekatse's 
country run easterly, and into the Shashe, to join the Lim- 
popo, while all the others run westerly, and then northerly, 
to the Zambesi. Golongwe was probably the dam which, 
before the rent was made, converted the whole Linyanti 
Valley into a lake ; but we could not, on the path we came, 
observe any difference of level by the barometer. From the 
Falls to Sinamane's the country sloped, and was all lower 
than Sesheke ; still a considerable difference of level must 
have taken place since the deep undisturbed mass of soft 
tufa was deposited on the great flats of Sesheke and Lin- 
yanti. The courses of the rivers in the country of Mose- 
lekatse, and on the Batoka highlands, west of the Kalonio, 
show that, in reference to the countries east of it, the great 
Makololo Yalley is still a hollow. 

On the 5th, after crossing some hills, we rested at the 

Bellows and other Tools. 

village of Simariango. The bellows of the blacksmith here 

Chap. XV. 



were somewhat different from the common goatskin bags, 
and more like those seen in Madagascar, They consisted of 
two wooden vessels, like a lady's bandbox of small dimen- 
sions, the "upper ends of which were covered with leather, 
and looked something like the heads of drums, except that 
the leather bagged in the centre. They were fitted with 
long nozzles, through which the air was driven by working 
the loose covering of the tops up and down by means of a 
small piece of wood attached to their centres. The black- 
smith said that tin was obtained from a people in the north, 
called Marendi, and that he had made it into bracelets ; we 
had never heard before of tin being found in the country. 

Our course then lay down the bed of a rivulet, called Mapa- 
tizia, in which there was much calc spar, with calcareous 
schist, and then the Tette grey sandstone, which usually 
overlies coal. On the 6th we arrived at the islet Chilombe, 
belonging to Sinamane, where the Zambesi runs broad and 
smooth again, and were well received by Sinamane himself. 
Never was Sunday more welcome to the weary than this, 
the last we were to spend with our convoy. 

Sinamane is an active-looking man of a light complexion, 
and is the ablest and most energetic of the Batoka chiefs we 
have met. He was independent until lately, when he sent 
in his adhesion to Linyanti; and, as all that Sekeletu asks of 
him is not to furnish the Matebele with canoes when they 
wish to cross the Zambesi to attack the Makololo, he will 
probably continue loyal. Leshore's mission, as we have said, 
was to ratify this vassal-ship, to request Sinamane to furnish 
us with what canoes he could, and to assure him that Mosho- 
botwane had not received, and never would receive, authority 
from Sekeletu to go on forays among his countrymen. This 
message was communicated also to the offending Batoka at 
the Falls, with whom it would have a good effect. We 



Chap. XV. 

now saw many good-looking young men and women. The 
dresses of the ladies are identical with those of Nubian 
women in Upper Egypt. To a belt on the waist a great 
number of strings are attached to hang all round the 

person. These fringes are about six 
or eight inches long. The matrons 
wear in addition a skin cut like the 
tails of the coatee formerly worn by 
our dragoons. The younger girls 
wear the waist-belt exhibited in the 
waist-beit. woodcut, ornamented with shells, and 

have the fringes only in front. Marauding parties of Batoka, 
calling themselves Makololo, have for some time had a 
wholesome dread of Sinamane's "long spears." Before 
going to Tette our Batoka friend, Masakasa, was one of 
a party that came to steal some of the young women ; but 
Sinamane, to their utter astonishment, attacked them so 
furiously that the survivors barely escaped with their lives. 
Masakasa had to flee so fast that he threw away his shield, 
his spear, and his clothes, and returned home a wiser and a 
sadder man. 

Chap. XYL 




Sinamane — Canoe navigation — Moemba — "Water-drawing stockades — Gene- 
rosity of the Batoka — Purchase of a canoe — Ant-lions — Herd of Hippo- 
potami — Cataract doctor of Kariba — Albinos, human and hippopotamic — 
Meet Sequasha, not quite so black as painted — Native mode of salutation 
— Karivua — Gallant conduct of the Makololo — Breakfast interrupted by 
Mambo Kazai — Dinner spoilt by pretended aid — Banyai — Rapids of Ke- 
brabasa — Dr. Kirk in danger — Sad loss of MSS., &c. — Death of one of 
our donkeys — Amiable squeamishness of Makololo — Dinner a la Panzo — 
Beach Tette 23rd Nov. — "Jacks of all trades" — Imposition practised on 
the King of Portugal's Colonial scheme. 

Sinamane's people cultivate large quantities of tobacco, 
which they manufacture into balls for the Makololo market. 
Twenty balls, weighing about three-quarters of a pound each, 
are sold for a hoe. The tobacco is planted on low moist 
spots on the banks of the Zambesi ; and was in flower at 
the time we were there, in October. Sinamane's people ap- 
pear to have abundance of food, and are all in good condi- 
tion. He could sell us only two of his canoes ; but lent us 
three more to carry us as far as Moemba's, where he thought 
others might be purchased. They were manned by his own 
canoe-men, who were to bring them back. The river is 
about 250 yards wide, and flows- serenely between high 
banks towards the North - East. Below Sinamane's the 
banks are often worn down fifty feet, and composed of 
shingle and gravel of igneous rocks, sometimes set in a 
ferruginous matrix. The bottom is all gravel and shingle, 
how formed we cannot imagine, unless in pot-holes in the 
deep fissure above. The bottom above the Falls, save a 
few rocks close by them, is generally sandy or of soft tufa. 
Every damp spot is covered with maize, pumpkins, water- 



Chap. XYI. 

melons, tobacco, and hemp. There is a pretty numerous 
Batoka population on both sides of the river. As we sailed 
slowly down, the people saluted us from the banks, by 
clapping their hands. A headman even hailed us, and 
brought a generous present of corn and pumpkins. 

Moemba owns a rich island, called Mosanga, a mile in 
length, on which his village stands. He has the reputation of 
being a brave warrior, and is certainly a great talker ; but he 
gave us strangers something better than a stream of words. 
We received a handsome present of corn, and the fattest goat 
we had ever seen; it resembled mutton. His people were 
as liberal as their Chief. They brought two large baskets of 
corn, and a lot of tobacco, as a sort of general contribution to 
the travellers. One of Sinamane's canoe-men, after trying 
to get his pay, deserted here, and went back before the stipu- 
lated time, with the story, that the Englishmen had stolen 
the canoes. Shortly after sunrise next morning, Sinamane 
came into the village with fifty of his " long spears," evi- 
dently determined to retake his property by force ; he saw 
at a glance that his man had deceived him. Moemba rallied 
him for coming on a wildgoose chase. " Here are your 
canoes left with me, your men have all been paid, and the 
Englishmen are now asking me to sell my canoes." Sina- 
mane said little to us ; only observing that he had been 
deceived by his follower. A single remark of his Chief's 
caused the foolish fellow to leave suddenly, evidently much 
frightened and crestfallen. Sinamane had been very kind to 
us, and, as he was looking on when we gave our present 
to Moemba, we made him also an additional offering of 
some beads, and parted good friends. Moemba, having 
heard that we had called the people of Sinamane together 
to tell them about our Saviour's mission to man, and to pray 
with them, associated the idea of Sunday with the meeting, 

Chap. XVI. 



and, before anything of the sort was proposed, came and 
asked that he and his people might be " Sunday ed " as well 
as his neighbours ; and be given a little seed wheat, and 
fruit-tree seeds ; with which request of course we very will- 
ingly complied. The idea of praying direct to the Supreme 
Being, though not quite new to all, seems to strike their 
minds so forcibly that it will not be forgotten. Sinamane 
said that he prayed to God, Morungo, and made drink-offer- 
ings to him. Though he had heard of us, he had never seen 
white men before. 

When bargaining with Moemba for canoes, we were grati- 
fied to observe, that he wished to deal fairly and honour- 
ably with us. "Our price was large ; but he had only two 
spare canoes. One was good, — he would sell that ; the other 
he would not sell us, because it had a bad trick of capsizing, 
and spilling whatever was inside it into the river ; he would 
lend us his own two large ones, until we could buy others 
below." The best canoes are made from a large species of 
thorny acacia. These trees were now in seed ; and some of 
the natives boiled the pods in water, and mixed the decoc- 
tion with their beer, to increase its intoxicating qualities. 
In times of great hunger the beans too are eaten, though 
very astringent. 

We touched at Makonde's village to buy a canoe. They 
were having a gay time, singing, dancing, and drinking their 
beer extra strong. A large potful was at once brought to 
us. The Chief spoke but little ; his orator did the talking 
and trading for him, and seemed anxious to show him how 
cleverly he could do both. Many tiny stockades stand on 
the edge of the river; they are built there to protect the 
women from the crocodiles, while filling their waterpots. 
This is in advance of the Portuguese ; for, although many 
women are annually carried off by crocodiles at Senna and 



Chaf. XVI. 

Tette, .so little are the lives of these poor drawers of water 
valued by the masters, that they never think of erecting 
even a simple fence for their protection. Dr. Livingstone 
tried to induce the padre of Senna to move in this matter, 
offering to give twenty dollars himself, if a collection should 
be made after mass ; but the padre merely smiled, shrugged 
his shoulders, and did nothing. 

Beautiful crowned cranes, named from their note ' ma- 
ivang? were seen daily, and were beginning to pair. Large 
flocks of spur -winged geese, or machikwe, were common. 
This goose is said to lay her eggs in March. We saw also 
j>airs of Egyptian geese, as well as a few of the knob-nosed, or, 
as they are called in India, combed geese. When the Egyptian 
geese, as at the present time, have young, the goslings keep 
so steadily in the wake of their mother, that they look as if 
they were a part of her tail ; and both parents, when on land, 
simulate lameness quite as well as our plovers, to draw off 
pursuers. The ostrich also adopts the lapwing fashion, but 
no quadrupeds do: they show fight to defend their young 
instead. In some places the steep banks were dotted with 
the holes which lead into the nests of bee-eaters. These 
birds came out in hundreds as we passed. When the red- 
breasted species settle on the trees, they give them the 
appearance of being covered with red foliage. 

Our land party came up to us on the evening of the 11th, 
a number of men kindly carrying their bundles for them. 
They had received valuable presents of food on the way. 
One had been given a goat, another fowls and maize. 
They began to believe that these Batoka "have hearts," 
though at first, as those who inflict an injury usually are, 
they were suspicious, and blamed them for hating the Mako- 
lolo and killing every one they met. Marauding parties of 
Makololo and subject Batoka had formerly made swoops on 

Chap. XVI. 



these very villages. A few mornings since, Moloka appeared 
in great grief and fear : his servant Banyeu had disappeared 
the day before, and he was sure that the Batoka had caught 
and killed him. A few minutes after, this Eanyeu arrived, 
with two men who had found him wandering after sunset, 
had given him supper and lodging, and, carrying his load 
for him, had brought him on to us. 

On the morning of the 12th October we passed through a 
wild, hilly country, with fine wooded scenery on both sides, 
but thinly inhabited. The largest trees were usually thorny 
acacias, of great size and beautiful forms. As we sailed 
by several villages without touching, the people became 
alarmed, and ran along the banks, spears in hand. We 
employed one to go forward and tell Mpande of our coming. 
This allayed their fears, and we went ashore, and took break- 
fast near the large island with two villages on it, opposite 
the mouth of the Zungwe, where we had left the Zambesi on 
our way up. Mpande was sorry that he had no canoes of his 
own to sell, but he would lend us two. He gave us cooked 
pumpkins and a water-melon. His servant had lateral cur- 
vature of the spine. We have often seen cases of humpback, 
but this was the only case of this kind of curvature we had 
met with. Mpande accompanied us himself in his own vessel, 
till we had an opportunity of purchasing a fine large canoe 
elsewhere. We paid what was considered a large price for it : 
twelve strings of blue cut glass neck-beads, an equal number 
of large blue ones of the size of marbles, and two yards of 
grey calico. Had the beads been coarser, they would have 
been more valued, because such were in fashion. Before 
concluding the bargain the owner said " his bowels yearned 
for his canoe, and we must give a little more to stop their 
yearning." This was irresistible. The trading party of 
Sequasha, which we now met, had purchased ten large 



Chap. XVI. 

new canoes for six strings of cheap coarse white beads 
each, or their equivalent, four yards of calico, and had 
bought for the merest trifle ivory enough to load them all. 
They were driving a trade in slaves also, which was some- 
thing new in this part of Africa, and likely soon to change 
the character of the inhabitants. These men had been living 
in clover, and were uncommonly fat and plump. When sent 
to trade, slaves wisely never stint themselves of beer or 
anything else, which their master's goods can buy. 

The insects called ant-lions (Myrmecoleo) , were very nu- 
merous in sandy places under shady trees, even where but 
few ants were to be seen. These patient creatures lie in 
ambush, and have a great deal of extra labour at this season 
of the year. The high winds fill up their pitfalls with drift- 
ing sand, and no sooner have they carefully shovelled it all 
out, than it is again blown in, thus keeping them constantly 
at work till the wind goes down. 

The temperature of the Zambesi had increased 10° since 
August, being now 80°. The air was as high as 96° after 
sunset ; and, the vicinity of the water being the coolest part, 
we usually made our beds close by the river's brink, though 
there in danger of crocodiles. Africa differs from India in the 
ah* always becoming cool and refreshing long before the sun 
returns, and there can be no doubt that we can in this 
country bear exposure to the sun, which would be fatal in 
India. It is probably owing to the greater dryness of the 
African atmosphere that sunstroke is so rarely met with. In 
twenty-two years Dr. Livingstone never met or heard of a 
single case, though the protective head-dresses of India are 
rarely seen. 

When the water is nearly at its lowest, we occasionally 
meet with small rapids which are probably not in existence 
during the rest of the year. Having slept opposite the rivulet 

Chap. XVI. 



Bume, which comes from the south, we passed the island of 
Nakansalo, and went down the rapids of the same name on 
the 17th, and came on the morning of the 19th to the more 
serious ones of Nakabele, at the entrance to Kariba. The 
Makololo guided the canoes admirably through the open- 
ing in the dyke. When we entered the gorge we came on 
upwards of thirty hippopotami : a bank near the entrance 
stretches two-thirds across the narrowed river, and in the 
still place behind it they were swimming about. Several 
were in the channel, and our canoe-men were afraid to 
venture down among them, because, as they affirm, there is 
commonly an illnatured one in a herd, which takes a malig- 
nant pleasure in upsetting canoes. Two or three boys on 
the rocks opposite amused themselves by throwing stones 
at the frightened animals, and hit several on the head. It 
would have been no difficult matter to have shot the whole 
herd. We fired a few shots to drive them off ; the balls 
often glance off the skull, and no more harm is done than 
when a schoolboy gets a bloody nose ; we killed one, which 
floated away down the rapid current, followed by a number 
of men on the bank. A native called to us from the left 
bank, and said that a man on his side knew how to pray 
to the Kariba gods, and advised us to hire him to pray for 
our safety, while we were going down the rapids, or we should 
certainly all be drowned. No one ever risked his life in 
Kariba without first paying the river-doctor, or priest, for his 
prayers. Our men asked if there was a cataract in front, 
but he declined giving any information ; they were not on 
his side of the river ; if they would come over, then he might 
be able to tell them. We crossed, but he went off to the 
village. We then landed and walked over the hills to have a 
look at Kariba before trusting our canoes in it. The current 
was strong, and there was broken water in some places, but 

y 2 


the channel was nearly straight, and had no cataract, so we 
determined to risk it. Our men visited the village while 
we were gone, and were treated to beer and tobacco. The 
priest who knows how to pray to the god that rules the 
rapids followed ns with several of his friends, and they were 
rather surprised to see us pass down in safety, without the 
aid of his intercession. The natives who followed the dead 
hippopotamus caught it a couple of miles below, and, hav- 
ing made it fast to a rock, were sitting waiting for us on 
the bank beside the dead animal. As there was a consider- 
able current there, and the rocky banks were unfit for our 
beds, we took the hippopotamus in tow, telling the villagers 
to follow, and we would give them most of the meat. The 
crocodiles tugged so hard at the carcass, that we were soon 
obliged to cast it adrift, to float down in the current, to 
avoid upsetting the canoe. We had to go on so far before 
finding a suitable spot to spend the night in, that the natives 
concluded we did not intend to share the meat with them, 
and returned to the village. We slept two nights at the 
place were the hippopotamus was cut up.* The crocodiles 
had a busy time of it in the dark, tearing away at what was 
left in the river, and thrashing the water furiously with their 
powerful tails. The hills on both sides of Kariba are much 
like those of Xebrabasa, the strata tilted and twisted in 
every direction, with no level ground. 

Although the hills confine the Zambesi within a narrow 
channel for a number of miles, there are no rapids beyond 
those near the entrance. The river is smooth and apparently 
very deep. Only one single human being was seen in the 
gorge, the country being too rough for culture. Some rocks 

* The animal was a female, and I obtained higher up was 4 ft. 3 in. 
fat ; it was 10 ft. in length and 4 ft. j at withers ; 9 ft. 7 in. from snout to 
1 in. in height. A young bull insertion of tail. 

Chai\ XVI. 



in the water, near the outlet of Kariba, at a distance look 
like a fort ; and such large masses dislocated, bent, and even 
twisted to a remarkable degree, at once attest some tre- 
mendous upheaving and convulsive action of nature, which 
probably caused Kebrabasa, Kariba, and the Victoria Falls 
to assume their present forms; it took place after the for- 
mation of the coal, that mineral having then been tilted up. 
We have probably nothing equal to it in the present quiet 
operations of nature. 

On emerging we pitched our camp by a small stream, 
the Pendele, a few miles below the gorge. The Palabi 
mountain stands on the western side of the lower end of 
the Kariba strait ; the range to which it belongs crosses the 
river, and runs to the south-east. Chikumbula, a hospitable 
old headman, under Nchomokela, the paramount Chief of a 
large district, whom we did not see, brought us next morn- 
ing a great basket of meal, and four fowls, with some beer, 
and a cake of salt, " to make it taste good." Chikumbula 
said that the elephants plagued them, by eating up the 
cotton-plants ; but his people seem to be well off. 

A few days before we came, they caught three buffaloes in 
pitfalls in one night, and, unable to eat them all, left one 
to rot. During the night the wind changed and blew from 
the dead buffalo to our sleeping-place ; and a hungry lion, 
not at all dainty in his food, stirred up the putrid mass, and 
growled and gloated over his feast, to the disturbance of our 
slumbers. Game of all kinds is in most extraordinary abun- 
dance, especially from this point to below the Kafue, and so 
it is on Moselekatse's side, where there are no inhabitants. 
The drought drives all the game to the river to drink. 
An hour's walk on the right bank, morning or evening, reveals 
a country swarming with wild animals : vast herds of pallahs, 
many waterbucks, koodoos, buffaloes, wild pigs, elands, zebras, 


and monkeys appear ; francolins, guinea-fowls, and myriads 
of turtledoves attract the eye in the covers, with the fresh 
spoor of elephants and rhinoceroses, which had been at the 
river during the night. Every few miles w 7 e came upon a 
school of hippopotami, asleep on some shallow sandbank ; 
their bodies, nearly all out of the water, appeared like 
masses of black rock in the river. When these animals 
are hunted much, they become proportion ably wary, but 
here no hunter ever troubles them, and they repose in 
security, always however taking the precaution of slee23ing 
just above the deep channel, into which they can plunge 
when alarmed. When a shot is fired into a sleeping herd, 
all start up on their feet, and stare with peculiar stolid looks 
of hippopotamic surprise, and wait for another shot before 
dashing into deep water. A few miles below 7 Chikumbula's 
w r e saw a white hippopotamus in a herd. Our men had never 
seen one like it before. It was of a pinkish white, exactly 
like the colour of the Albino. It seemed to be the father of 
a number of others, for there were many marked with large 
light patches. The so-called white elephant, is just such a 
pinkish Albino as this hippopotamus. A few miles above 
Kariba, we observed that, in two small hamlets, many of the 
inhabitants had a similar affection of the skin. The same 
influence appeared to have affected man and beast. A dark 
coloured hippopotamus stood alone, as if expelled from 
the herd, and bit the water, shaking his head from side to 
side in a most frantic manner. This biting the water with 
his huge jaws is the hippopotamus' way of " slamming 
the door." When the female has twins, she is said to kill 
one^pf them. 

f We touched at the beautiful tree-covered island of Kalabi, 
opposite where Tuba-mokoro lectured the lion in our way up. 
The ancestors of the people who now inhabit this island pos- 

Chap. XVI. 



sessed cattle. The tsetse has taken possession of the country J 
since " the beeves were lifted." No one knows where these in- | 
sects breed ; at a certain season all disappear, and as suddenly j 
come back, no one knows whence.^/ The natives are such 1 
close observers of nature, that their ignorance in this case I 
surprised usy A solitary hippopotamus had selected the little 
bay in which we landed, and where the women drew water, 
for his dwelling-place. Pretty little lizards, with light blue 
and red tails, run among the rocks, catching flies and other 
insects. These harmless — though to new-comers repulsive — 
creatures sometimes perform good service to man, by eating 
great numbers of the destructive white ants. 

At noon on the 24th October, we found Sequasha in a 
village below the Kafue, with the main body of his people. He 
said that 210 elephants had been killed during his trip; 
many of his men being excellent hunters. The numbers 
of animals we saw renders this possible. He reported that, 
after reaching the Kafue, he went northwards into the country 
of the Zulus, whose ancestors formerly migrated from the 
south and set up a sort of Eepublican form of government. 
Sequasha is the greatest Portuguese traveller we ever became 
acquainted with, and he boasts that he is able to speak a 
dozen different dialects ; yet, unfortunately, he can give but 
a very meagre account of the countries and people he has 
seen, and his statements are not very much to be relied 
on. But considering the influences among which he has 
been reared, and the want of the means of education at 
Tette, it is a wonder that he possesses the good traits that he 
sometimes exhibits. Among his wares were several cheap 
American clocks ; a useless investment rather, for a part of 
Africa where no one cares for the artificial measurement of 
time. These clocks got him into trouble among the Banyai : 
he set them all agoing in the presence of a Chief, who became 



Chap. XVI. 

frightened at the strange sounds they made, and looked upon 
them as so many witchcraft agencies at work to bring 'all 
manner of evils upon himself and his people. Sequasha, it 
was decided, had been guilty of a milando or crime, and he 
had to pay a heavy fine of cloth and beads for his exhibition. 
He alluded to our having heard that he had killed Mpangwe, 
and he denied having actually done so ; but in his absence his 
name had got mixed up in the affair, in consequence of his 
slaves, while drinking beer one night with Namakusuru, the 
man who succeeded Mpangwe, saying that they would kill the 
Chief for him. His partner had not thought of this when we 
saw him on the way up, for he tried to excuse the murder, 
by saying that now they had put the right man into the 

From Tombanyama's onwards the Zambesi is full of islands, 
and many buffaloes had been attracted by the fresh young 
a-rass and reeds. One was shot on the forenoon of the 27th. 
Distant thunder was heard during the night, and, as usually 
happens in this state of the atmosphere, the meat spoiled so 
rapidly, that it was not fit to eat next morning. Hunger in 
this case, and with no choice but want, made a bitter thing 
sweet. The same rapid decomposition is also produced if 
meat is hung on a papaw-tree for four or five hours : an hour 
or two, however, makes it tender only. 

Three of Ma-mburuma's men brought us a present of meal 
and fowls, as we rested on the 28th on an island near 
Poclebode. Their mode of salutation, intended to show good 
manners and respectful etiquette, was to clap the thigh with 
one hand while approaching with the present in the other; 
and, on sitting down before us, to clap the hands together, then 
to continue clapping on the thigh when they handed the 
present to our men, and with both hands when they received 
one in return, and also on their departure. This ceremonious 

Chap. XVI. 



procedure is gone through with grave composure, and mothers 
may be observed enjoining on their children the proper 
clapping of the hands, as good manners are taught among 

After three hours' sail, on the morning of the 29th, the 
river was narrowed again by the mountains of Mburuma, 
called Karivua, into one channel, and another rapid dimly 
appeared. It was formed by two currents guided by 
rocks to the centre. In going down it, the men sent by 
Sekeletu behaved very nobly. The canoes entered without 
previous survey, and the huge jobbling waves of mid-current 
began at once to fill them. With great presence of mind, 
and without a moment's hesitation, two men lightened each 
by jumping overboard ; they then ordered a Batoka man 
to do the same, as "the white men must be saved." "I can- 
not swim," said the Batoka. " Jump out, then, and hold on 
to the canoe ; ? ' which he instantly did. Swimming along- 
side, they guided the swamping canoes down the swift current 
to the foot of the rapid, and then ran them ashore to bale 
them out. A boat could have passed down safely, but our 
canoes were not a foot above the water at the gunwales. 

Thanks to the bravery of these poor fellows, nothing was 
lost, although everything was well soaked. This rapid is 
nearly opposite the west end of the Mburuma mountains or 
Karivua. Another soon begins below it. They are said to be 
all smoothed over when the river rises. The canoes had to 
be unloaded at this the worst rapid, and the goods carried 
about a hundred yards. By taking the time in which a piece 
of stick floated past 100 feet, we found the current to be 
running six knots, by far the greatest velocity noted in the 
river. As the men were bringing the last canoe down close 
to the shore, the stern swung round into the current, and all 
except one man let go, rather than be dragged off. He 



Chap. XVI. 

clung to the bow, and was swept out into the middle of the 
stream. Having held on when he ought to have let go, he 
next put his life in jeopardy by letting go when he ought to 
have held on ; and was in a few seconds swallowed up by a 
fearful whirlpool. His comrades launched out a canoe below, 
and caught him as he rose the third time to the surface, and 
saved him, though much exhausted and very cold. 

The scenery of this pass reminded us of Kebrabasa, although 
it is much inferior. A band of the same black shining glaze 
runs along the rocks about two feet from the water's edge. 
There was not a blade of grass on some of the hills, it being 
the end of the usual dry season succeeding a previous severe 
drought; yet the hill-sides were dotted over with beautiful 
green trees. A few antelopes were seen on the rugged slopes, 
where some people too appeared lying down, taking a cup of 
beer. The Karivua narrows are about thirty miles in length. 
They end at the mountain Roganora. Two rocks, twelve or 
fifteen feet above the water at the time we were there, may 
in flood be covered and dangerous. Our chief danger was the 
wind, a very slight ripple being sufficient to swamp canoes. 

We arrived at Zumbo, at the mouth of the Loangwa, 
on the 1st of November. The water being scarcely up to 
the knee, our land party waded this river with ease. A 
buffalo was shot on an island opposite Pangola's, the ball 
lodging in the spleen. It was found to have been wounded 
in the same organ previously, for an iron bullet was im- 
bedded in it, and the wound entirely healed. A great deal 
of the plant Pistia stratiotes was seen floating in the 
river. Many people inhabit the right bank about this 
part, yet the game is very abundant. 

As we were taking our breakfast on the morning of the 
2nd, the Manibo Kazai, of whom we knew nothing, and 
his men came with their muskets and large powder-horns 



to levy a fine, and obtain payment for the wood we nsed 
in cooking. But on our replying to his demand that we were 
English, "Oh! are you?" he said; "I thought you were 
Bazungu (Portuguese). They are the people I take pay- 
ments from :" and he apologized for his mistake. Bazungu, 
or Azungu, is a term applied to all foreigners of a light colour, 
and to Arabs ; even to trading slaves if clothed ; it probably 
means foreigners or visitors, — from zunga, to visit or wander, — 
and the Portuguese were the only foreigners these men had 
ever seen. As we had no desire to pass for people of that 
nation — quite the contrary — we usually made a broad line 
of demarcation by saying that we were English, and the 
English neither bought, sold, nor held black people as slaves, 
but wished to put a stop to the slave-trade altogether. 

We called upon our friend, Mpende, in passing. He pro- 
vided a hut for us, with new mats spread on the floor. 
Having told him that we were hurrying on because the rains 
were near, "Are they near?" eagerly inquired an old 
counsellor, " and are we to have plenty of rain this year ? " 
We could only say that it was about the usual time for the 
rains to commence ; and that there were the usual indications 
in great abundance of clouds floating westwards, but that we 
knew nothing more than they did themselves. Some people 
occasionally take advantage of the supposed credulity of the 
natives to gain temporary applause ; but Africans are usually 
shrewd enough to detect some discrepancy, and no one is 
duped but the traveller himself. Mpende had been blamed 
for driving the clouds away during the past drought, and had 
to pay a heavy fine to the Pondoro, as an atonement for his 
offence. It blew a gale on the night of the 4th, after which 
the wind suddenly chopped round, and blew down the river, 
and we had thunder, lightning, and rain. The temperature 
of both air and water was lowered next morning, the river 



having, fallen 7°, or to 78°. There were thunderstorms' all 
around us during the day, and the Zambesi rose several 
inches, and became highly discoloured. 

The hippopotami are more wary here than higher up, as 
the natives hunt them with guns. Having shot one on a 
shallow sandbank, our men undertook to bring it over to the 
left bank, in order to cut it up with greater ease. It was a 
fine fat one, and all rejoiced in the hope of eating the fat for 
butter, with our hard dry cakes of native meal. Our cook 
was sent over to cut a choice piece for dinner, but returned 
with the astonishing intelligence that the carcass was gone. 
They had been hoodwinked, and were very much ashamed ot 
themselves. A number of Banyai came to assist in rolling 
it ashore, and asserted that it was all shallow water. Thev 
rolled it over and over towards the land, and, finding the rope 
we had made fast to it, as they said, an encumbrance, it was 
unloosed. All were shouting and talking as loud as they 
could bawl, when suddenly our expected feast plumped into a 
deep hole, as the Banyai intended it should do. When sink- 
ing, all the Makololo jumped in after it. One caught fran- 
ticly at the tail; another grasped a foot, a third seized the 
hip ; " but, by Sebituane ! it would go down, in spite of all 
that we could do." Instead of a fat hippopotamus, we had 
only a lean fowl for dinner, and were glad enough to get 
even that. The hippopotamus, however, floated during the 
night, and was found about a mile below. The Banyai then 
assembled on the bank, and disputed our right to the beast : 
"It might have been shot by somebody else." Our men 
took a little of it and then left it, rather than come into 
collision with them. 

A fine waterbuck was shot in the Kakolole narrows, at Mount 
Manyerere ; it dropped beside the creek where it was feeding ; 
an enormous crocodile, that had been watching it at the moment, 

Chap. XVI. 



seized and dragged it into the water, which was not very deep. 
The mortally-wounded animal made a desperate plunge, and, 
hauling the crocodile several yards, tore itself out of the 
hideous jaws. To escape the hunter, the waterbuck jumped 
into the river, and was swimming across, when another croco- 
dile gave chase, but a ball soon sent it to the bottom. The 
waterbuck swam a little longer, the fine head dropped, the 
body turned over, and one of the canoes dragged it ashore. 
Below Kakolole, and still at the base of Manyerere mountain, 
several coal-seams, not noticed on our ascent, were now seen 
to crop out on the right bank of the Zambesi. 

Chitora, of Chicova, treated us with his former hospitality. 
Our men were all much pleased with his kindness, and certainly 
did not look upon it as a proof of weakness. They meant to 
return his friendliness when they came this way on a maraud- 
ing expedition to eat the sheep of the Banyai, for insulting 
them in the affair of the hippopotamus ; they would then send 
word to Chitora not to run away for they, being his friends, 
would do such a good-hearted man no harm. 

In our voyage down we had gleaned the following informa- 
tion respecting the river itself. From the point where we 
embarked at Sinamane's to Kansalo, the river is more na- 
vigable than between Tette and Senna, though much of it is 
only from 250 to 300 yards broad, or like the Thames at 
London-bridge. It is deep, and flows gently. A little below 
Kansalo, at Kariba, a basaltic dyke, called Nakabele, with a 
wide opening in it, dangerous only for canoes, stretches like 
an artificial dam across the stream. The deep and narrow 
river then flows on for several miles through a range of lofty 
mountains. Still further down, and from the Kafue eastward, 
it is at least half a mile wide ; the current is gentle, and there 
are many sandy islands. Then there is the rapid at Karivua, 
mentioned above, about 100 yards in length, with a current of 



Chap. XVI. 

nearly six knots an hour ; this is the most rapid part of the 
Zambesi, except in actual cataracts. In the space below 
Zumbo, aud on to Chicova, the river is again broad and of easy- 
navigation. Chicova, of which geographers have spoken some- 
times as a kingdom, and sometimes as a cataract, is a district 
having a fertile plain on the south bank, and both sides of 
the river were formerly well cultivated; but now it has no 

We entered Kebrabasa rapids, at the east end of Chicova, 
in the canoes, and went down a number of miles, until the 
river narrowed into a groove of fifty or sixty yards wide, of 
which we have already spoken in describing the flood-bed and 
channel of low water. The navigation then became difficult 
and dangerous. A fifteen feet fall of the water in our absence 
had developed many cataracts. Two of our canoes passed safely 
clown a narrow channel, which, bifurcating, had an ugly whirl- 
pool at the rocky partition between the two branches, the deep 
hole in the whirls at times opening and then shutting. The 
Doctor's canoe came next, and seemed to be drifting broadside 
into the open vortex, in spite of the utmost exertions of the 
paddlers. The rest were expecting to have to pull to the 
rescue ; the men saying, "Look where these people are going ! — 
look, look ! " — when a loud crash burst on our ears. Dr. Kirk's 
canoe was dashed on a projection of the perpendicular rocks, 
by a sudden and mysterious boiling up of the river, which 
occurs at irregular intervals. Dr. Kirk was seen resisting the 
sucking-down action of the water, which must have been 
fifteen fathoms deep, and raising himself by his arms on to 
the ledge, while his steersman, holding on to the same rocks, 
saved the canoe ; but nearly all its contents were swept away 
down the stream. Dr. Livingstone's canoe meanwhile, which 
had distracted the men's attention, was saved by the cavity in 
the whirlpool filling up as the frightful eddy was reached. A 

Chap. XVI. 



few of the things in Dr. Kirk's canoe were left ; but all that 
was valuable, including a chronometer, a barometer, and, to 
our great sorrow, his notes of the journey and botanical 
drawings of the fruit-trees of the interior, perished. 

We now left the river, and proceeded on foot, sorry that 
we had not done so the day before. The men were 
thoroughly frightened, they had never seen such perilous 
navigation. They would carry all the loads, rather than 
risk Kebrabasa any longer ; but the fatigue of a day's march 
over the hot rocks and burning sand changed their tune 
before night ; and then they regretted having left the canoes ; 
they thought they should have dragged them past the 
dangerous places, and then launched them again. One of 
the two donkeys died from exhaustion near the Luia. 
Though the men eat zebras and quaggas, blood relations 
of the donkey, they were shocked at the idea of eating the 
ass ; " it would be like eating man himself, because the donkey 
lives with man, and is his bosom companion." We met two 
large trading parties of Tette slaves on their way to Zumbo, 
leading, to be sold for ivory, a number of Manganja women, 
with ropes round their necks, and all made fast to one long 

Panzo, the • headman of the village east of Kebrabasa, 
received us with great kindness. After the usual salutation 
he went up the hill, and, in a loud voice, called across the 
valley to the women of several hamlets to cook supper for 
us. About eight in the evening he returned, followed by a 
procession of women, bringing the food. There were eight 
dishes of nsima, or porridge, six of different sorts of very 
good wild vegetables, with dishes of beans and fowls; all 
deliciously well cooked, and scrupulously clean. The wooden 
dishes were nearly as white as the meal itself: food also was 
brought for our men. Eipe mangoes, which usually indicate 



CiiAr. XYL 

the vicinity of the Portuguese, were found on the 21st 
November ; and we reached Tette early on the 23rd, having 
been absent a little over six months. 

The two English sailors, left in charge of the steamer, were 
well, had behaved well, and had enjoyed excellent health all 
the time we were away. Their farm had been a failure. We 
left a few sheep, to be slaughtered when they wished for fresh 
meat, and two dozen fowls. Purchasing more, they soon had 
doubled the number of the latter, and anticipated a good supply 
of eggs ; but they also bought two monkeys, and they ate all 
the eggs. A hippopotamus came up one night, and laid waste 
their vegetable garden ; the sheep broke into their cotton 
patch, when it w r as in flower, and ate it all, except the stems ; 
then the crocodiles carried off the sheep, and the natives stole 
the fowls. Nor were they more successful as gunsmiths : a 
Portuguese trader, having an exalted opinion of the ingenuity 
of English sailors, showed them a double-barreled rifle, and 
inquired if they could put on the browning, which had 
rusted off. "I think I knows how," said one, whose 
father was a blacksmith, " it's very easy ; you have only to 
put the barrels in the fire." A great fire of wood was made 
on shore, and the unlucky barrels put over it, to secure the 
handsome rifle colour. To Jack's utter amazement the 
barrels came asunder. To get out of the scrape, his com- 
panion and he stuck the pieces together witli resin, and sent 
it to the owner, with the message, " It was all they could do 
for it. and they would not charge him anything for the job!" 
They had also invented an original mode of settling a 
bargain ; having ascertained the market price of provisions, 
they paid that, but no more. If the traders refused to 
leave the ship till the price was increased, a chameleon, of 
which the natives have a mortal dread, was brought out 
of the cabin ; and the moment the natives saw the creature, 



they at once sprang overboard. The chameleon settled every 
dispute in a twinkling. 

But besides their goodhumoured intercourse, they showed 
humanity worthy of English sailors. A terrible scream 
roused them up one night, and they pushed off in a boat 
to the rescue. A crocodile had caught a woman, and was 
dragging her across a shallow sandbank. Just as they came 
up to her, she gave a fearful shriek : the horrid reptile had 
snapped off her leg at the knee. They took her on board, 
bandaged the limb as well as they could, and, not thinking 
of any better way of showing their sympathy, gave her a 
glass of rum, and carried her to a hut in the village. Next 
morning they found the bandages torn off, and the un- 
fortunate creature left to die. " I believe," remarked Kowe, 
one of the sailors, " her master was angry with us for saving 
her life, seeing as how she had lost her leg." 

Having heard a great deal about a military and agri- 
cultural colony, which was sent out by the late King of 
Portugal, Don Pedro V., well known as a true-hearted 
man, we felt much interest in an experiment begun under 
his enlightened auspices. Immediately after our arrival at 
Tette, we called upon the new Governor. His Excellency 
coolly said that the king had been grossly deceived by 
those appointed to select the men. He smiled at his Govern- 
ment sending out military convicts as colonists; and said, 
" These men are not fitted to do anything in the country ; 
they know how to keep their arms clean, and nothing else. 
Of what possible use was it to send agricultural implements 
for men like these ? The Government is deceived respecting 





Down to Kongone — Latest bulletin of "the Asthmatic" — The old lady's 
demise — Reach Senna by canoe — Unprofitable trading by slaves — Tho 
biter bit, or Sequasha squeezed — Coals dear by slave labour — His Ex- 
cellency's yacht — Kongone — English papers — Flesh, fowl, fish, and har- 
monious crabs of the mangrove swamps — Busungu — The saw-fish. 

The Zambesi being unusually low, we remained at Tette 
till it rose a little, and then left on the 3rd December for the 
Kongone. It was hard work to keep the vessel afloat; 
indeed we never expected her to remain above water. New 
leaks broke out every day ; the engine-pump gave way ; the 
bridge broke down ; three compartments filled at night ; 
except the cabin and front compartment all was flooded; 
and in a few days we were assured by Eowe that " she can't 
be worse than she is, sir." He and Hutchins had spent much 
of their time, while we were away, in patching her bottom, 
puddling it with clay, and shoring it, and it was chiefly to 
please them that we again attempted to make use of her. 
We had long been fully convinced that the steel plates were 
thoroughly unsuitable. On the morning of the 21st the 
uncomfortable " Asthmatic " grounded on a sandbank and 
filled. She could neither be emptied nor got off. The river 
rose during the night, and all that was visible of the worn-out 
craft next day was about six feet of her two masts. Most of the 
property we had on board was saved ; and we spent the Christ- 
mas of 1860 encamped on the island of Chimba. Canoes were 
sent for from Senna ; and we reached it on the 27th, to be 
again hospitably entertained by our friend, Senhor Ferrao. 

A large party of slaves, belonging to the Commandant, 
after having been away the greater part of a year, had just 



returned from a trading expedition to Moselekatse's country. 
They had taken in-land a thousand muskets and a large 
quantity of gunpowder; these being, they said, the only 
articles Moselekatse cares to purchase. They started on 
their journey back, with ivory, ostrich feathers, a thousand 
sheep and goats, and thirty head of fine cattle. Moselekatse 
sent, in addition, as a token that the traders and he had 
parted good friends, a splendid white bull to the Comman- 
dant. The ostrich feathers had been packed in reeds, a fire 
broke out in the camp one night, and most of them were 
burned. On their way the cattle had to pass through a 
tsetse country, and they all died from the effects of the bite. 
The white bull perished within two days of Senna; six 
hundred of the sheep and goats had been eaten, either 
because they became lame, or because the drivers were 
hungry. The Commandant having an. attack of fever was 
unable to calculate his losses, but intended to imprison the 
slaves who, as usual, thought more of their own comfort 
than of their master's gain. Slave labour is certainly very 
dear; for an Englishman with two wagons and ten people 
could have made a more profitable trip to Moselekatse's — 
from the much greater distances of Natal or the Cape — than 
was made by these hundreds of slaves. 

When we met Sequasha, he confessed to having already 
amassed 800 arrobas or 25,600 lbs, of ivory, the most of it 
purchased for a mere trifle. His comrade had about half that 
amount, or 12,800 lbs. When Sequasha returned to Tette, 
in the following year, he was cast into prison in the Fort. He 
had brought down several tons of ivory, and was soon a free 
man again. The ostensible reason for his imprisonment was 
the disorders he had been guilty of in the interior; but this 
was only like the customary manipulation by which, in pisci- 
culture, the salmon is made to yield her spawn, before she 

z 2 



Chap. XV IT. 

swims off a free light fish again. We do not envy the position 
of the colonist in these Portuguese convict settlements. But 
we do regret that our own countrymen of the Cape are 
prevented, by an unwise policy, from carrying their free- 
dom and love of fair play into the country which is, so far 
as discovery goes, by right their own. And we may be 
permitted to record our heartfelt sorrow, that Robert Moffat, 
the son of the celebrated Missionary, was so soon cut off in 
the midst of his days, and at the commencement of his noble 
endeavours to carry lawful commerce into all the interior. 

It may be interesting to our Cape friends to know that, 
notwithstanding their occasionally laudable growling about 
the fickleness of Kaffir labourers, such labourers are much 
better than slaves. The coal here, as we have mentioned, lies 
quite exposed in cliff sections, in the sides of streams, which 
could easily be made available for carriage by lighters. 
A small vessel, exactly like the Ma-Robert, was sent out by 
Don Pedro V. for the navigation of the Zambesi ; and orders 
were forwarded to Tette to have a supply of coal ready for 
her from the seam at which we had supplied our vessel. This 
order was carried out by slaves ; and from information sup- 
plied to us by the officer who superintended this easy mining- 
operation, we found that the mineral cost 11. per ton, or at 
least twice as much as it does by free labour at the pit's 
mouth in England. Indeed, it would have been more expen- 
sive, if taken to the river's mouth, than coal brought by sea 
round the Cape to India. The facts mentioned showed that 
the chief expense incurred was in the food required by the 
slaves. The wages allowed in the calculation to the masters 
were very small. Coal from the mines at Tette, according 
to the present system of labour, could not be delivered at 
Kongone much under 101. per ton. The contrast is more 
striking if we remember the great depth at which the coal 




in England is obtained. We saw the vessel referred to above, 
lying in Mosambique harbour in 1864 ; it had not been used 
for the purpose it was sent out for, though it had been nearly 
three years there. What a howl would have rung through 
the Cape Colony, if our Governor there had kept a vessel, 
sent from Europe for the development of the colonial trade, 
for his Excellency's own amusement ! 

We reached the Kongone on the 4th of January, 1861. A 
flagstaff and a Custom-house had been erected during our 
absence ; a hut, also, for a black lance-corporal and three 
privates. By the kind permission of the lance-corporal, who 
came to see us as soon as he had got into his trousers and 
shirt, we took up our quarters in the Custom-house, which, 
like the other buildings, is a small square floorless hut of 
mangrove stakes overlaid with reeds. The soldiers com- 
plained of hunger, they had nothing to eat but a little mapira, 
and were making palm wine to deaden their cravings. While 
waiting for a ship, we had leisure to read the newspapers and 
periodicals we found in the mail which was waiting our 
arrival at Tette. Several were a year and a half old. 

Our provisions began to run short ; and towards the end 
of the month there was nothing left but a little bad biscuit 
and a few ounces of sugar. Coffee and tea were expended, 
but scarcely missed, as our sailors discovered a pretty good 
substitute in roasted mapira. Fresh meat was obtained in 
abundance from our antelope preserves on the large island 
made by a creek between the Kongone and East Luabo. 

Large herds of waterbuck (Aigocerus ellipsiprymniis) feed 
there on the grassy plains ; when they desire fresh pasture 
they wait on the bank till the tide is low, and then swim the 
creeks, half a mile or more, with the greatest ease. These 
animals are difficult to kill, and seem at times to have as 
many lives as a cat. A shot in the neck is generally fatal, 


but they have frequently gone off, as if unhurt, with two or 
three Enfield bullets in the lungs or other parts of the body. 
The lungs seemed to have numerous fibrous septa running 
into their substance, so as to form a congeries of small lobes, 
one of which might be wounded without much injury to the 
others; but while trying to find in this an explanation of 
the fact that a wound in the lungs of waterbucks did not 
kill, we never had the means and time for careful dissection. 
A fine male ran full speed upwards of two hundred yards 
with part of the heart blown out by a J acob's shell. It was 
hoped that Jacob's shells would put animals out of pain at 
once ; but from exploding on a bone near the skin, or even 
on the skin, they were found not to answer our expectations. 
The Enfield ball, too, though propelled with prodigious velo- 
city, is much too small to prove speedily fatal ; the large 
two-ounce round bullet is the best of all, if it is well driven 
home. Near the sea the meat of the waterbuck is always 
juicy and well-flavoured, reminding one of beef; but in the 
interior the flesh of the same kind of antelope is so dry and 
tough, that at last even our black men, though far from 
being fastidious, refused to eat it ; and we gave up shooting- 
antelopes there altogether. It is said to be a well-attested 
fact that the flesh of the sheep of the island of Halki is highly 
esteemed, and has a delicious flavour, in consequence, it is be- 
lieved, of the animals drinking salt-water only. The vegeta- 
tion here has usually a quantity of fine salt in efflorescence 
on it, and much of the water is brackish. The excellence of 
the flesh may in this case also, perhaps, be attributed to the 
salt. It was only after partaking of it in the interior, that we 
understood why Captain Harris had so low an opinion of it. 

The reedbuck (Redunca eleotragus) commonly lies close in 
the long grass during the extreme heat of the day, and waits 
till the hunter is near, before bounding off and uttering its 

Chap. XVII. 



whistle of alarm. A better acquaintance with the habits of 
animals might aid in their division into groups, as they appear 
in nature, on the hills, plains, and marshes. The koodoo, pallah, 
blackbuck or kualata, klipspringer or kololo, are generally seen 
on the hills, and, when pursued, flee to them for safety. The 
gemsbuck or kukama, kama, tsessebe, gnu, eland, puti or diver, 
steinbuck, giraffe, nuni or blesbuck, springbuck or tsepe, and 
ourebi, are always on the plains ; while the waterbuck, reed- 
buck, lechwe, poku, nakong, and bushbuck inhabit swampy 
places, and flee to waters or swamps for protection. 

In the mornings and evenings the pretty-spotted bushbuck 
(Tragelaphus sylvatied) ventures, though only a short distance, 
out of the mangroves, to feed. When startled, its call of 
danger is a loud bark, the imitation of which is its name 
among most of the native tribes — "mpabala," "mpsware." 
The waterbuck keeps the open plains, and seldom lies down 
during the day. On clear windy days all the game are 
extremely wild and wary, and can only be stalked with the 
greatest difficulty ; while in still, sultry weather, they may 
be approached with ease. 

A few leopards (Felis leopardus), called "tigre" by the 
Portuguese, and troops of a green monkey called " pusi," find 
food and shelter among the mangroves. The hunting leopard, 
[Felis jubata) with small round black spots, we never saw. 

In this focus of decaying vegetation, nothing is so much to 
be dreaded as inactivity. We had, therefore, to find what 
exercise and amusement we could, when hunting was not 
required, in peering about in the fetid swamps ; to have 
gone mooning about, in listless idleness, would have ensured 
fever in its worst form, and probably with fatal results. 

A curious little blenny-fish swarms in the numerous creeks 
which intersect the mangrove topes. When alarmed, it 
hurries across the surface of the water in a series of leaps. It 



Chap. XVIL 

may be considered amphibious, as it lives as much out of the 
water as in it, and its most busy time is during low water. 
Then it appears on the sand or mud, near the little pools 
left by the retiring tide ; it raises itself on its pectoral 
fins into something of a standing attitude, and with its large 
projecting eyes keeps a sharp look-out for the light-coloured 
fly, on which it feeds. Should the fly alight at too great 
a distance for even a second leap, the blenny moves slowly 
towards it like a cat to its prey, or like a jumping spider ; 
and, as soon as it gets within two or three inches of the 
insect, by a sudden spring contrives to pop its underset 
mouth directly over the unlucky victim. He is, moreover, 
a pugnacious little fellow ; and rather prolonged fights may 
be observed between him and his brethren. One, in fleeing 
from an apparent danger, jumped into a pool a foot square, 
which the other evidently regarded as his by right of prior 
discovery ; in a twinkling the owner, with eyes flashing fury 
and with dorsal fin bristling up in rage, dashed at the intrud- 
ing foe. The fight waxed furious, no tempest in a teapot 
ever equalled the storm of that miniature sea. The warriors 
were now in the water, and anon out of it, for the battle 
raged on sea and shore. They struck hard, they bit each 
other ; until, becoming exhausted, they seized each other by 
the jaws like two bull-dogs, then paused for breath, and at 
it again as fiercely as before, until the combat ended by 
the precipitate retreat of the invader. 

The muddy ground under the mangrove-trees is covered 
with soldier-crabs, which quickly slink into their holes on any 
symptom of danger. When the ebbing tide retires, 
myriads of minute crabs emerge from their undergound 
quarters, and begin to work like so many busy bees. 
Soon many miles of the smooth sand become rough with 
the results of their labour. They are toiling for their 

Chap. XVII. 



daily bread : a round bit of moist sand appears at the 
little labourer's mouth, and is quickly brushed off by one 
of the claws ; a second bit follows the first ; and another, 
and still another come as fast as they can be laid aside. As 
these pellets accumulate, the crab moves sideways, and the 
work continues. The first impression one receives is, that 
the little creature has swallowed a great deal of sand, and is 
getting rid of it as speedily as possible: a habit he indulges 
in of darting into his hole at intervals, as if for fresh sup- 
plies, tends to strengthen this idea ; but the size of the heaps 
formed in a few seconds shows that this cannot be the case, 
and leads to the impression that, although not readily seen, 
at the distance at which he chooses to keep the observer, 
yet that possibly he raises the sand to his mouth, where 
whatever animalcule it may contain is sifted out of it, and 
the remainder rejected in the manner described. At times the 
larger species of crabs perform a sort of concert ; arid from 
each subterranean abode strange sounds arise, as if, in imita- 
tion of the songsters of the groves, for very joy they sang ! 
The wart-hogs (Pliacochcerus Africaniis), seem to be rather 
partial to these large, sound-producing crabs ; they dig them 
out of the muddy swamps during the night, and devour them. 
Shoals of small fish abound in the shallows between the 
Kongone and the land, Nyangalule, and this is the favourite 
fishing-station of a large flock of pelicans, during the months 
they remain on the coast. These birds destroy an immense 
number of fish ; they breed in April on the low island off 
Kongone, and also on that off East Luabo. The eggs, of 
which we got a good supply, are so fishy in taste, that 
anchovy sauce is necessary to render them palatable. At 
Luabo Island, the turtles come at stated times to lay their 
eggs, which have a tough membrane instead of a shell, and 
are pleasant in flavour. 



Chap. XVIL 

The mangrove itself is worth examining ; and Dr. Kirk 
found it, and trees and plants brought from a distance and 
stranded on these shores, an interesting and instructive study* 
One species of mangrove stands, at ebb tide, on its fantastic 
roots, raised high above the ground, while, at flood tide, the 
trunk seems as if planted on the surface of the water. Ano- 
ther has flat, broad, tortuous roots, placed on edge in the 
mud, so as to give it, even on that soft substance, a firm 
foundation to stand upon. The seeds of one species are 
formed somewhat like arrow-heads, and, in falling, are by 
their own weight shot into the soft ground, and self-planted. 
Another fruit nearly as large as a child's head, of no use, 
as far as we can guess, to man or beast, splits into pieces 
when it drops. The wood, however, makes excellent fuel, 
and possesses the valuable quality of burning freely in the 
furnace, even when green. It also makes capital rafters, 
which, from their straightness and length, are much esteemed 
by the Portuguese. 

We found some natives pounding the woody stems of a 
poisonous climbing-plant (Direct palustris) called Busungu, or 
poison, which grows abundantly in the swamps. When a good 
quantity was bruised, it was tied up in bundles. The stream 
above and below was obstructed with bushes, and with a sort of 
rinsing motion the poison was diffused through the water. 
Many fish were soon affected, swam in shore, and died, others 
were only stupified. The plant has pink, pea-shaped blossoms, 
and smooth, pointed, glossy leaves, and the brown bark is 
covered with minute white points. The knowledge of it 
might prove of use to a shipwrecked party by enabling them 
to catch the fish. 

The poison is said to be deleterious to man if the water is 
drunk ; but not when the fish is cooked. The Busungu is 
repulsive to some insects, and is smeared round the shoots of 

■Chap. XVII. 



the palm-trees to prevent the ants from getting into the 
palm wine while it is" dropping from the tops of the palm- 
trees into the little pots suspended to collect it. 

We were in the habit of walking from our beds into the 
salt water at sunrise, for a bath, till a large crocodile appeared 
at the bathing place, and from that time forth, we took our 
clip in the sea, away from the harbour, about midday. This 
is said to be unwholesome, but we did not find it so. It is 
certainly better not to bathe in the mornings, when the air 
is colder than the water — for then, on returning to the 
cooler air, one is apt to get a chill and fever. In the mouth 
of the river, many saw-fish are found. Eowe saw one while 
bathing — caught it by the tail, and shoved it, " snout on," 
ashore. The saw is from a foot to eighteen inches long. We 
never heard of any one being wounded by this fish ; nor, 
though it goes hundreds pf miles up the river in fresh water, 
could we learn that it was eaten by the people. The hippo- 
potami delighted to spend the clay among the breakers, and 
seemed to enjoy the fun as much as we did. 

Severe gales occurred during our stay on the Coast, and 
many small sea-birds (Prion Banksii, Smith) perished : the 
beach was strewn with their dead bodies, and some were found 
hundreds of yards inland ; many were so emaciated as to dry 
up without putrefying. We were plagued with myriads of 
mosquitoes, and had some touches of fever; the men we 
brought from malarious regions of the interior suffered 
almost as much from it here, as we did ourselves. This gives 
strength to the idea that the civilized withstand the evil in- 
fluences of strange climates better than the uncivilized. When 
negroes return to their own country from healthy lands, they 
suffer as severely as foreigners ever clo. 



Chap. XVIIT. 


Arrival of Pioneer — Mission Staff taken to Johanna — Bishop Mackenzie joins 
the Expedition up the Kovuma — Fall of water — Return to Comoro — 
Johanna — Ascent of the Shire — Pioneer draws too much water — Charles 
Livingstone labours to stimulate cotton culture — Want of agents on East 
Coast compared to West Coast — England's labours there — Their value — 
Expedition eminently successful — Turning-point of success — Slaves rescued 
— The Bishop accepts the Chief's invitation to Magomero — Yisit to the 
Ajawa, well-meant, ill-taken — Stand at bay — Retreat of the Ajawa — 
Bishop Mackenzie's Mission at Magomero — Extent of Dr. Livingstone's re- 
sponsibility — Return to the ship. 

On the 31st January. 1861, our new ship, " The Pioneer," 
arrived from England, and anchored outside the bar ; but the 
weather was stormy, and she did not venture in till the 4th 
of February. 

Two of H.M. cruisers came at the same time, bringing 
Bishop Mackenzie, and the Oxford and Cambridge Mission to 
the tribes of the Shire and Lake Xyassa. The Mission con- 
sisted of six Englishmen, and five coloured men from the Cape. 
It was a puzzle to know what to do with so many men. The 
estimable Bishop, anxious to commence his work without delay, 
wished the Pioneer to carry the Mission up the Shire, as 
far as Chibisa's, and there leave them. But there were 
grave objections to this. The Pioneer was under orders to 
explore the Bovuina, as the Portuguese Government had re- 
fused to open the Zambesi to the ships of other nations, and 
their officials were very effectually pursuing a system, which, 
I >y abstracting the labour, was rendering the country of no 
value either to foreigners or to themselves. She was already 
two months behind her time, and the rainy season was half over. 
Then, if the party were taken to Chibisa's, the Mission would be 


left without a medical attendant, in an unhealthy region, 
at the beginning of the most sickly season of the year, and 
without means of reaching the healthy highlands, or of re- 
turning to the sea. We dreaded that in the absence of medical 
aid, and all knowledge of the treatment of fever, there might 
be a repetition of the sorrowful fate which befell the similar 
non-medical Mission at Linyanti. It was well that we 
objected so strongly, for we afterwards found that the Bishop 
had purchased our fever pills at the Cape, which must 
have been made of dirt instead of drugs. The Bishop 
at last consented to proceed in the Lyra man-of-war to 
Johanna, and there leave the members of the Mission with 
H.M.'s Consul, Mr. Sunley, while he himself should ac- 
company us up the Rovuma, in order to ascertain whether 
the country round its head- waters, which were reported to flow 
out of Nyassa, was a suitable place for a settlement. 

On the 25th of February the Pioneer anchored in the mouth 
of the Rovuma, which, unlike most African rivers, has a mag- 
nificent bay and no bar. We wooded, and then waited for the 
Bishop till the 9th of March, when he came in the Lyra. On 
the 11th we proceeded up the river, and saw that it had fallen 
four or five feet during our detention. The scenery on the lower 
part of the Rovuma is superior to that on the Zambesi, for 
we can see the highlands from the sea. Eight miles from the 
mouth the mangroves are left behind, and a beautiful range of 
well- wooded hills on each bank begins. On these ridges the 
tree resembling African blackwood, of finer grain than ebony, 
grows abundantly, and attains a large size. Few people were 
seen, and those were of Arab breed, and did not appear to be 
very well off. The current of the Rovuma was now as strong 
as that of the Zambesi, but the volume of water is very much 
less. Several of the crossings had barely water enough for our 
ship, drawing five feet, to pass. When we were thirty miles up 


the rive*, the water fell suddenly seven inches in twenty-four 
hours. As the March flood is the last of the season, and it 
appeared to be expended, it was thought prudent to avoid 
the chance of a year's detention, by getting the ship back to 
the sea without delay. Had the Expedition been alone, we 
would have pushed up in boats, or afoot, and done what we 
could towards the exploration of the river and upper end of the 
lake ; but, though the Mission was a private one, and entirely 
distinct from our own, a public one, the objects of both being 
similar, we felt anxious to aid our countrymen in their noble 
enterprise; and, rather than follow our own inclination, 
decided to return to the Shire, see the Mission party settled 
safely, and afterwards explore Lake Nyassa and the 
Eovuma, from the Lake downwards. Fever broke out on 
board the Pioneer, at the mouth of the Eovuma, as we thought 
from our having anchored close to a creek coming out of 
the mangroves ; and it remained in her until we completely 
isolated the engine-room from the rest of the ship. The coal- 
dust rotting sent out strong effluvia, and kept up the disease 
for more than a twelvemonth. 

Soon after we started, the fever put the Pioneer almost 
entirely into the hands of the original Zambesi Expedi- 
tion, and not long afterwards the leader had to navigate 
the ocean as well as the river. The habit of finding the 
geographical positions on land renders it an easy task to 
steer a steamer with only three or four sails at sea ; where, 
if one does not run ashore, no one follows to find out an 
error and where a current affords a ready excuse for every 

Touching at Mohilla, one of the Comoro Islands, on our 
return, we found a mixed race of Arabs, Africans, and 
their conquerors, the natives of Madagascar. Being Ma- 
hometans, they have mosques and schools, in which we were 


pleased to see girls as well as boys taught to read the Koran. 
The teacher said he was paid by the job, and received ten 
dollars for teaching each child to read. The clever ones learn 
in six months; but the dull ones take a couple of years. 
We next went over to Johanna for our friends; and, 
after a sojourn of a few days at the beautiful Comoro islands, 
we sailed for the Kongone mouth of the Zambesi with Bishop 
Mackenzie and his party. We reached the coast in seven 
days, and passed up the Zambesi to the Shire. 

The Pioneer, constructed under the skilful supervision of 
Admiral Sir Baldwin Walker and the late Admiral Washing- 
ton, warm-hearted and highly esteemed friends of the Expe- 
dition, was a very superior vessel, and well suited for our 
work in every respect, except in her draught of water. 
Five feet were found to be too much for the navigation 
of the upper part of the Shire. Designed to draw three 
feet only, the weight necessary to impart extra strength, 
and fit her for the ocean, brought her down two feet 
more, and caused us a great deal of hard and vexatious 
work, in laying out anchors, and toiling at the capstan to get 
her off sandbanks. We should not have minded this much, but 
for the heavy loss of time which might have been more profit- 
ably, and infinitely more pleasantly, spent in intercourse with 
the people, exploring new regions, and otherwise carrying out 
the objects of the Expedition. Once we were a fortnight on 
a bank of soft yielding sand, having only two or three inches 
less water than the ship drew ; this delay was occasioned by 
the anchors coming home, and the current swinging the ship 
broadside on the bank, which, immediately on our touching, 
always formed behind us. We did not like to leave the ship 
short of Chibisa's, lest the crew should suffer from the 
malaria of the lowland around; and it would have been 
difficult to have got the Mission goods carried up. We were 


daily visited by crowds of natives, who brought us abundance of 
provisions far beyond our ability to consume. In hauling the 
Pioneer over the shallow places, the Bishop, with Horace 
Waller and Mr. Scudamore, were ever ready and anxious to 
lend a hand, and worked as hard as any on board. Had our fine 
little ship drawn but three feet, she could have run up and down 
the river at any time of the year, with the greatest ease, but, 
as it was, having once passed up over a few shallow banks, it 
was impossible to take her down again until the river rose in 
December. She could go up over a bank, but not come down 
over it, as a heap of sand always formed instantly astern, 
while the current washed it away from under her bows. 

From the period of our second entrance among the tribes 
on the Shire, Charles Livingstone had very zealously 
turned his energies to inducing the people to cultivate cotton 
for exportation. The Ma-Robert was so leaky that nothing 
more could be done, while we had her, than purchase small 
quantities of cleaned cotton and yarn of native manufacture, 
to be submitted to our friends at Manchester, and to incul- 
cate the probability of our countrymen coming to buy as 
much as could be raised. Much of what we bought in this 
wiy was inevitably spoiled by the wet state of the vessel; but 
the specimens sent home were pronounced to be "the very 
kind of cotton most needed in Lancashire," and the yarn, or 
rather rove, which we bought at about a penny per pound, 
excited the admiration of practical manufacturers there. 

Now that we had more accommodation, Charles Living- 
stone pursued the same system of attempting to turn the 
industrial energies of the natives to good account, and with 
very gratifying success. Cotton was bought, and cleaned 
with cotton-gins, and, though we were restricted by the great 
draught of the Pioneer to an area of less than seven miles, in 
three months he had collected 300 lbs. of clean cotton-wool, 

Chap. XVIII. 



at less than a penny per pound. No great amount, certainly, 
when compared with the thousands of bales which come from 
other countries ; but still sufficient to prove that cotton 
of superior quality can be raised by native labour alone ; 
and but for the slave-trade, which soon afterwards swept all 
these people away, it is highly probable, that in a few years, 
the free-labour could have been turned to account in the 
markets of the world. 

It was never intended that a Government Expedition 
should become a mere cotton collecting or mercantile specu- 
lation. We ascertained that the part of Africa in which 
we laboured was pre-eminently suited for the better varie- 
ties of the cotton-plant ; that two species of excellent cotton 
had already been introduced, and so widely distributed by 
the natives themselves, as to render new seed unnecessary, 
and the indigenous kind quite an exception in the country. 
The climate and soil were found to be so well adapted for 
raising this product, that no danger need ever be appre- 
hended of the crops being cut off by frosts ; and, from all we 
could learn, free-labour was as available here as it is in any 
other country in the world. But a mighty want was felt in 
the entire absence of those blessings which England has 
unquestionably conferred on the West Coast. There were none 
of those Christian natives that can be numbered by thousands 
at Sierra-Leone and elsewhere, who, whatever defects they 
may have, do possess the qualification of being trustworthy 
trade-agents among their countrymen. Having carefully 
examined and compared both Coasts, and making allowance 
for the fact that perhaps a majority of those on whom 
English benevolence has been expended have been the 
lowest of the low — liberated African slaves, — and likewise 
giving all due weight to the assertions of the traders who 
have used strong language to express their injured feelings 

2 A 



Chap. XVIII. 

in being prevented from using the people as brutes, we must 
say that the conduct of England on the West Coast of late 
years deserves the world's admiration. Her generosity will 
appear grand in the eyes of posterity. Here, on the East 
Coast, we have the contrast. No trustworthy agents can be 
employed ; no education has been imparted ; and not even 
slave agents can be sent to a distance except on the promise 
of plunder and rapine. In the Mission we had now with us, 
we trusted that we saw the dawn of a better system for both 
Portuguese and natives, than that which has been the bane 
of all progress for ages past. 

The Expedition, in spite of several adverse circumstances, 
was up to this point eminently successful in its objects. 
As will be afterwards seen, we had opened a cotton-field, 
which, taking in the Shire and Lake Nyassa, was 400 miles 
in length. We had gained the confidence of the people 
wherever we had gone ; and, supposing the Mission of the 
Universities to be only moderately successful, as all we had 
previously known of the desire of the natives to trade had 
been amply confirmed, a perfectly new era had commenced 
in a region much larger than the cotton-fields of the Southern 
States of America. 

We had, however, as will afterwards be seen, arrived at 
the turning-point of our prosperous career, and soon came 
into contact with the Portuguese slave-trade ; and let any 
one reflect on the injury that any country sustains, even by 
laws which only hamper trade and free commercial inter- 
course, and he may judge how utterly destructive to all 
prosperity that system must be, which not only fosters 
internecine wars, but renders the pursuit of agriculture 
perilous in times of peace. 

On at last reaching Chibisa's, we heard that there was 
war in the Manganja country, and the slave-trade was going 

Chap. XVIII. 



on briskly. A deputation from a Chief near Mount Zomba had 
just passed on its way to Chibisa, who was in a distant village, 
to implore him to come himself, or send medicine, to drive 
off the Waiao, Waiau, or Ajawa, whose marauding parties were 
desolating the land. A large gang of recently enslaved 
Manganja crossed the river, on their way to Tette, a few 
days before we got the ship up. Chibisa's deputy was civil, 
and readily gave us permission to hire as many men to carry 
the Bishop's goods up to the hills as were willing to go. With 
a, sufficient number, therefore, we started for the highlands 
on the 15th of July, to show the Bishop the country, which, 
from its altitude and coolness, was most suitable for a station. 
Our first day's march was a long and fatiguing one. The few 
hamlets we passed were poor, and had no food for our men, 
and we were obliged to go on till 4 p.m., when we entered 
the small village of Chipindu. The inhabitants complained 
of hunger, and said they had no food to sell, and no hut for 
us to sleep in ; but, if we would only go on a little further, we 
should come to a village where they had plenty to eat ; but 
we had travelled far enough, and determined to remain where 
we were. Before sunset as much food was brought as we 
cared to purchase, and, as it threatened to rain, huts were 
provided for the whole party. 

Next forenoon we halted at the village of our old friend 
Mbame, to obtain new carriers, because Chibisa's men, never 
before having been hired, and not having yet learned to trust 
us, did not choose to go further. After resting a little, Mbame 
told us that a slave party on its way to Tette would presently 
pass through his village. " Shall we interfere ?" we inquired 
of each other. We remembered that all our valuable private 
baggage was in Tette, which, if we freed the slaves, might, 
together with some Government property, be destroyed in 
retaliation; but this system of slave-hunters dogging us 

2 A 2 



where previously they durst not venture, and, on pretence 
of being (t our children," setting one tribe against another, 
to furnish themselves with slaves, would so inevitably thwart 
all the efforts, for which we had the sanction of the Portuguese 
Government, that we resolved to run all risks, and put a 
stop, if possible, to the slave-trade, which had now followed 
on the footsteps of our discoveries. A few minutes after 
Mbame had spoken to us, the slave party, a long line of 
manacled men, women, and children, came wending their 
way round the hill and into the valley, on the side of which 
the village stood. The black drivers, armed with muskets, 
and bedecked with various articles of finery, marched jauntily 
in the front, middle, and rear of the line ; some of them 
blowing exultant notes out of long tin horns. They 
seemed to feel that they were doing a very noble thing, 
and might proudly march with an air of triumph. But 
the instant the fellows caught a glimpse of the Eng- 
lish, they darted off like mad into the forest ; so fast, 
indeed, that we caught but a glimpse of their red caps 
and the soles of their feet. The chief of the party alone 
remained ; and he, from being in front, had his hand tightly 
grasped by a Makololo ! He proved to be a well-known 
slave of the late Commandant at Tette, and for some 
time our own attendant while there. On asking him how he 
obtained these captives, he replied, he had bought them ; but 
on our inquiring of the people themselves all, save four, said 
they had been captured in war. While this inquiry was going 
on, he bolted too. The captives knelt down, and, in their way 
of expressing thanks, clapped their hands with great energy. 
They were thus left entirely on our hands, and knives were 
soon busy at Avork cutting the women and children loose. 
It was more difficult to cut the men adrift, as each had his 
neck in the fork of a stout stick, six or seven feet long, and 

Chap. XVIII. 



kept in by an iron rod which was riveted at both ends across 
the throat. With a saw, luckily in the Bishop's baggage, 
one by one the men were sawn out into freedom. The 
women, on being told to take the meal they were carrying 
and cook breakfast for themselves and the children, seemed 
to consider the news too good to be true ; but after a little 
coaxing went at it with alacrity, and made a capital fire 
by which to boil their pots with the slave sticks and bonds, 
their old acquaintances through many a sad night and 
weary day. Many were mere children about five years of age 
and under. One little boy, with the simplicity of childhood, 
said to our men, * The others tied and starved us, you cut 
the ropes and tell us to eat ; wdiat sort of people are you ? — 
Where did you come from?" Two of the women had been 
shot the day before for attempting to untie the thongs. 
This, the rest were told, was to prevent them from attempting 
to escape. One woman had her infant's brains knocked out, 
because she could not carrv her load and it. And a man 
was despatched with an axe, because he had broken down 
with fatigue. Self-interest would have set a watch over the 
whole rather than commit murder; but in this traffic we 
invariably find self-interest overcome by contempt of human 
life and by bloodthirstiness. 

The Bishop was not present at this scene, having gone to 
bathe in a little stream below the village ; but on his return he 
warmly approved of what had been done ; he at first had doubts, 
but now felt that, had he been present, ho would have joined 
us in the good work. Logic is out of place when the question 
with a true-hearted man is, whether his brother-man is to be 
saved or not. Eighty-four, chiefly women and children, were 
liberated ; and on being told that they were now free, and 
might go where they pleased, or remain with us, they all chose 
to stay ; and the Bishop wisely attached them to his Mission, 


to be educated as members of a Christian family. In this 
way a great difficulty in the commencement of a Mission was 
overcome. Years are usually required before confidence is 
so far instilled into the natives' mind as to induce them, young 
or old, to submit to the guidance of strangers professing to be 
actuated by motives the reverse of worldly wisdom, and inculcat- 
ing customs strange and unknown to them and their fathers. 

We proceeded next morning to Soche's with our liberated 
party, the men cheerfully carrying the Bishop's goods. As 
we had begun, it was of no use to do things by halves, so 
eight others were freed in ajiamlet on our path ; but a party 
of traders, with nearly a hundred slaves, fled from Soche's on 
hearing of our proceedings. Dr. Kirk and four Makololo fol- 
lowed them with great energy, but they made clear off to 
Tette. Six more captives were liberated at Mongazi's, and two 
slave-traders detained for the night, to prevent them from 
carrying information to a large party still in front. Of their own 
accord they volunteered the information that the Governor's 
servants had charge of the next party ; but we did not choose 
to be led by them, though they offered to guide us to his 
Excellency's own agents. Two of the Bishop's black men 
from the Cape, having once been slaves, were now zealous 
emancipators, and volunteered to guard the prisoners during 
the night. So anxious were our heroes to keep them safe, 
that instead of relieving each other, by keeping watch 
and watch, both kept watch together, till towards four o'clock 
in the morning, when sleep stole gently over them both; 
and the wakeful prisoners, seizing the opportunity, escaped : 
one of the guards, perceiving the loss, rushed out of the hut, 
shouting, "They are gone, the prisoners are off, and they 
have taken my rifle with them, and the women too ! Fire ! 
everybody fire ! " The rifle and the women, however, were 
all safe enough, the slave-traders being only too glad to 


escape alone. Fifty more slaves were freed next day in 
another village ; and, the whole party being stark-naked, 
cloth enough was left to clothe them, better probably than 
they had ever been clothed before. The head of this gang, 
whom we knew as the agent of one of the principal mer- 
chants of Tette, said that they had the licence of the Gover- 
nor for all they did. This we were fully aware of without 
his stating it. It is quite impossible for any enterprise to 
be undertaken there without the Governor's knowledge and 

The portion of the highlands which the Bishop wished to 
look at before deciding on a settlement, belonged to Chiwawa 
or Chibaba, the most manly and generous Manganja Chief we 
had met with on our previous journey. On reaching Nsambo's, 
near Mount Chiradzuru, we heard that Chibaba was dead, and 
that Chigunda was Chief instead. Chigunda, apparently of 
his own accord, though possibly he may have learnt that the 
Bishop intended to settle somewhere in the country, asked 
him to come and live with him at Magomero, adding that 
there was room enough for both. This hearty and spontaneous 
invitation had considerable influence on the Bishop's mind, 
and seemed to decide the question. A place nearer the Shire 
would have been chosen, had he expected his supplies to come 
up that river ; but the Portuguese, claiming the river Shire, 
though never occupying even its mouth, had closed it, 
as well as the Zambesi. 

Our hopes were turned to the Kovuma, as a free highway 
into Lake ISTyassa and the vast interior. A steamer was 
already ordered for the Lake, and the Bishop, seeing the 
advantageous nature of the highlands which stretch an 
immense way to the north, was more anxious to be near the 
Lake and the Rovuma, than the Shire. When he decided 
to settle at Magomero, it was thought desirable, to prevent 



Chap. XVIIT. 

the country from being depopulated, to visit the Ajawa Chief, 
and to try and persuade him to give up his slaving and kid- 
napping courses, and turn the energies of his people to peace- 
ful pursuits. 

On the morning of the 22nd we were informed that the 
Ajawa were near, and were burning a village a few miles off. 
Leaving the rescued slaves, we moved off to seek an interview 
with these scourges of the country. On our way we met 
crowds of Manganja fleeing from the war in front. These poor 
fugitives from the slave hunt had, as usual, to leave all the 
food they possessed, except the little they could carry on their 
heads. We passed field after field of Indian corn or beans, 
standing ripe for harvesting, but the owners were away. The 
villages were all deserted: one where we breakfasted two 
years before, and saw a number of men peacefully weaving 
cloth, and, among ourselves, called it the " Paisley of the 
hills," was burnt ; the stores of corn were poured out in cart- 
loads, and scattered all over the plain, and all along the paths, 
neither conquerors nor conquered having been able to convey 
it away. About two o'clock we saw the smoke of burning 
villages, and heard triumphant shouts, mingled with the 
wail of the Manganja women, lamenting over their slain. 
The Bishop then engaged us in fervent prayer ; and, on rising 
from our knees, we saw a long line of Ajawa warriors, with 
their captives, coming round the hill-side. The first of the 
returning conquerors were entering their own village below, 
and we heard women welcoming them back with "lilliloo- 
ings." The Ajawa headman left the path on seeing us, and 
stood on an anthill to obtain a complete view of our party. 
We called out that we had come to have an interview with 
them, but some of the Manganja who followed us shouted 
" Our Ohibisa is come :" Chibisa being well known as a great 
conjurer and general. The Ajawa ran off yelling and scream- 

Chap. XYIII. 



ing, " Nkondo ! Nkondo ! " (War ! War !) We heard the words 
of the Manganja, but they did not strike us at the moment 
as neutralizing all our assertions of peace. The captives 
threw down their loads on the path, and fled to the hills : and 
a large body of armed men came running up from the village, 
and in a few seconds they were all around us, though mostly 
concealed by the projecting rocks and long grass. In vain 
we protested that we had not come to fight, but to talk with 
them. They would not listen, having, as we remembered 
afterwards, good reason, in the cry of "Our Chibisa." 
Flushed with recent victory over three villages, and confident 
of an easy triumph over a mere handful of men, they began 
to shoot their poisoned arrows, sending them with great 
force upwards of a hundred yards, and wounding one of our 
followers through the arm. Our retiring slowly up the 
ascent from the village only made them more eager to 
prevent our escape ; and, in the belief that this retreat was 
evidence of fear, they closed upon us in bloodthirsty fury. 
Some came within fifty yards, dancing hideously ; others 
having quite surrounded us, and availing themselves of the 
rocks and long grass hard by, were intent on cutting us off, 
while others made off with their women and a large body of 
slaves. Four were armed with muskets, and we were obliged 
in self-defence to return their fire and drive them off. When 
they saw the range of the rifles, they very soon desisted, and 
ran away ; but some shouted to us from the hills the con- 
soling intimation, that they would follow, and kill us where 
we slept. Only two of the captives escaped to us, but 
probably most of those made prisoners that day fled else- 
where in the confusion. We returned to the village which 
we had left in the morning, after a hungry, fatiguing, and 
most unpleasant day. 

Though we could not blame ourselves for the course we had 


followed, we felt sorry for what had happened. It was the 
first time we had ever been attacked by the natives or come 
into collision with them ; though we had always taken it for 
granted that we might be called upon to act in self-defence, 
we were on this occasion less prepared than usual, no game 
having been expected here. The men had only a single round 
of cartridge each ; their leader had no revolver, and the 
rifle he usually fired with was left at the ship to save it 
from the damp of the season. Had we known better the 
effect of slavery and murder, on the temper of these blood- 
thirsty marauders, we should have tried messages and presents 
before going near them. 

The old chief, Chinsunse, came on a visit to us next day, 
and pressed the Bishop to come and live with him. " Chi- 
gunda," he said, " is but a child, and the Bishop ought to live 
with the father rather than with the child." But the old man's 
object was so evidently to have the Mission as a shield against 
the Ajawa, that his invitation was declined. While begging 
us to drive away the marauders, that he might live in peace, 
he adopted the stratagem of causing a number of his men 
to rush into the village, in breathless haste, with the news 
that the Ajawa were close upon us. And having been re- 
minded that we never fought, unless attacked, as we were the 
day before, and. that we had come among them for the purpose 
of promoting peace, and of teaching them to worship the Su- 
preme, to give up selling His children, and to cultivate other 
objects for barter than each other, he replied, in a huff, " Then 
I am dead already." 

The Bishop, feeling, as most Englishmen would, at the 
prospect of the people now in his charge being swept off into 
slavery by hordes of men-stealers, proposed to go at once to 
the rescue of the captive Manganja, and drive the marauding 
Ajawa out of the country. All were warmly in favour of this, 


save Dr. Livingstone, who opposed it on the ground that it 
would be better for the Bishop to wait, and see the effect 
of the check the slave-hunters had just experienced. The 
Ajawa were evidently goaded on by Portuguese agents from 
Tette, and there was no bond of union among the Man- 
ganja on which to work. It was possible that the' Ajawa 
might be persuaded to something better, though, from having 
long been in the habit of slaving for the Quillimane market, 
it was not very probable. But the Manganja could easily be 
overcome piecemeal by any enemy; old feuds made them 
glad to see calamities befall their next neighbours. We 
counselled them to unite against the common enemies of 
their country, and added distinctly that we English would on 
no account enter into their quarrels. On the Bishop inquir- 
ing whether, in the event of the Manganja again asking aid 
against the Ajawa, it would be his duty to accede to their 
request, — "No," replied Dr. Livingstone, " you will be op- 
pressed by their importunities, but do not interfere in native 
quarrels." This advice the good man honourably mentions 
in his journal. We have been rather minute in relating what 
occurred during the few days of our connexion with the 
Mission of the English Universities, on the hills, because, 
the recorded advice having been discarded, blame was thrown 
on Dr. Livingstone's shoulders, as if the Missionaries had no 
individual responsibility for their subsequent conduct. This, 
unquestionably, good Bishop Mackenzie had too much manli- 
ness to have allowed. The connexion of the members of the 
Zambesi Expedition, with the acts of the Bishop's Mission, 
now ceased, for we returned to the ship and prepared for our 
journey to Lake Nyassa. We cheerfully, if necessary, will 
bear all responsibility up to this point ; and if the Bishop 
afterwards made mistakes in certain collisions with the 
slavers, he had the votes of all his party with him, and 


those who best knew the peculiar circumstances, and the 
loving disposition of this good-hearted man, will blame him 
least. In this position, and in these circumstances, we left 
our friends at the Mission Station. 

As a temporary measure the Bishop decided to place 
his Mission Station on a small promontory formed by the 
windings of the little, clear stream of Magomero, which was 
so cold that the limbs were quite benumbed by washing 
in it in the July mornings. The site chosen was a pleasant 
spot to the eye, and completely surrounded by stately, 
shady trees. It was expected to serve for a residence, till 
the Bishop had acquired an accurate knowledge of the ad- 
jacent country, and of the political relations of the people, 
and could select a healthy and commanding situation, as a 
permanent centre of Christian civilization. Everything pro- 
mised fairly. The weather was delightful, resembling the 
pleasantest part of an English summer; provisions poured 
in very cheap and in great abundance. The Bishop, with 
characteristic ardour, commenced learning the language, Mr. 
Waller began building, and Mr. Scudamore improvised a 
sort of infant school for the children, than which there is 
no better means for acquiring an unwritten tongue. 

Chap. XIX. 




Fresh start for Lake Nyassa — Carry a boat past the cataracts — Humpbacked 
spokesman — Lakelet Pamalombe — Indications of malaria — Lake Nyassa 

— Depth — Size — Shape — Bays — Mountains and storms — Crowds of 
people — Midge cake — Fish, sanjika, &c. — Apparent laziness of the people 

— Torpidity of skin — Buaze nets — Bark cloth — Beauty a la " pelele " — 
Marenga's generosity — Horrors of inland slave-trade — Thieves ; the first 
robbery we suffered in Africa — Native graves — Mazitu or Zulus — Four 
days' separation — Rough roads — Man's enemy, man — Our Dice Diviner 
vanishes ; but reappears — Elephants — Arabs from Katanga — Arab geo- 

\ graphy of Tanganyika and Nyassa — The slave-trade — Reed huts in papyrus 

— Young women got up for sale — Sensible old woman — Meet marauding 
Ajawa at Mikena's — Elephants' athletic sports. 

On the 6th of August, 1861 , a few days after returning 
from Magomero, Drs. Livingstone and Kirk, and Charles 
Livingstone started for Nyassa with a light four-oared gig, 
a white sailor, and a score of attendants. We hired people 
along the path to carry the boat past the forty miles of the 
Murchison Cataracts for a cubit of cotton cloth a day. 
This being deemed great wages, more than twice the men 
required eagerly offered their services. The chief difficulty 
was in limitiDg their numbers. Crowds followed us; and, 
had we not taken down in the morning the names of the 
porters engaged, in the evening claims would have been 
made by those who only helped during the last ten minutes 
of the journey. The men of one village carried the boat to 
the next, and all we had to do was to tell the headman that 
we wanted fresh men in the morning. He saw us pay the 
first party, and had his men ready at the time appointed, 
so there was no delay in waiting for carriers. They often 
make a loud noise when carrying heavy loads, but talking 



Chap. XIX. 

and bawling does not put them out of breath. The country 
was rough and with little soil on it, but covered with grass 
and open forest. A few small trees were cut down to clear 
a path for our shouting assistants, who were good enough 
to consider the boat as a certificate of peaceful intentions 
at least to them. Several small streams were passed, the 
largest of which were the Mukuru-Madse and Lesungwe. 
The inhabitants on both banks were now civil and oblig- 
ing. Our possession of a boat, and consequent power of 
crossing independently of the canoes, helped to develop 
their good manners, which were not apparent on our pre- 
vious visit. 

There is often a surprising contrast between neighbour- 
ing villages. One is well off and thriving, having good huts, 
plenty of food, and native cloth ; and its people are frank, 
trusty, generous, and eager to sell provisions ; while in the 
next the inhabitants may be ill-housed, disobliging, suspi- 
cious, ill fed, and scantily clad, and with nothing for sale, 
though the land around is as fertile as that of their wealthier 
neighbours. We followed the river for the most part to 
avail ourselves of the still reaches for sailing ; but a com- 
* paratively smooth country lies further inland, over which a 
good road could be made. Some of the five main cataracts 
are very grand, the river falling 1200 feet in the 40 miles. 
After passing the last of the cataracts, we launched our boat 
for good on the broad and deep waters of the Upper Shire, 
and were virtually on the lake, for the gentle current shows 
but little difference of level. The bed is broad and deep, 
but the course is rather tortuous at first, and makes a long- 
bend to the east till it comes within five or six miles of 
the base of Mount Zomba. The natives regarded the Upper 
Shire as a prolongation of Lake Nyassa ; for where what we 
called the river approaches Lake Shirwa, a little north of 

Chap. XIX. 



the mountains, they said that the hippopotami, "which are 
great night travellers," pass from one lake into the other. 
There the land is flat, and only a short land journey would 
be necessary. Seldom does the current here exceed a knot 
an hour, while that of the Lower Shire is from two to two- 
and-a-half knots. Our land party of Makololo accompanied 
us along the right bank, and passed thousands of Mangarja 
fugitives living in temporary huts on that side, who had 
recently been driven from then villages on the opposite hills 
by the Ajawa. 

The soil was dry and hard, and covered with mopane-trees ; 
but some of the Manganja were busy hoeing the ground and 
planting the little corn they had brought with them. The 
effects of hunger were already visible on those whose food had 
been seized or burned by the Ajawa and Portuguese slave- 
traders. The spokesman or prime minister of one of the Chiefs, 
named Kalohjere, was a humpbacked dwarf, a fluent speaker, 
who tried hard to make us go over and drive off the Ajawa ; 
but he could not deny that by selling people Kalonjere 
had invited these slave-hunters to the country. This is 
the second humpbacked dwarf we have found occupying 
the like important post, the other was the prime minister 
of a Batonga Chief on the Zambesi. 

As we sailed along, we disturbed many white-breasted 
cormorants ; we had seen the same species fishing between 
the cataracts. Here, with many other wild-fowl, they find 
subsistence on the smooth water by night, and sit sleepily 
on trees and in the reeds by day. Many hippopotami were 
seen in the river, and one of them stretched its wide jaws, 
as if to swallow the whole stern of the boat, close to Dr. 
Kirk's back ; the animal was so near, that in opening its 
mouth it lashed a quantity of water on to the stern-sheets, 
but did no damage. To avoid large marauding parties of 



Chap. XIX. 

Ajawa,* on the left bank of the Shire, we continued on the 
right, or western side, with our land party, along the shore of 
the small lake Pamalombe. This lakelet is ten or twelve 
miles in length, and five or six broad. It is nearly surrounded 
by a broad belt of papyrus, so dense that we could scarcely 
find an opening to the shore. The plants, ten or twelve feet 
high, grew so closely together that air was excluded, and so 
much sulphuretted hydrogen gas evolved that by one night's 
exposure the bottom of the boat was blackened. Myriads of 
mosquitoes showed, as probably they always do, the presence 
of malaria. 

We hastened from this sickly spot, trying to take the 
attentions of the mosquitoes as hints to seek more plea- 
sant quarters on the healthy shores of Lake Nyassa ; and 
when we sailed into it, on the 2nd September, we felt 
refreshed by the greater coolness of the air off this large 
body of water. The depth was the first point of interest. 
This is indicated by the colour of the water, which, on 
a belt along the shore, varying from a quarter to half a 
mile in breadth, is light green, and this is met by the deep 
blue or indigo tint of the Indian Ocean, which is the 
colour of the great body of Nyassa. We found the Upper 
Shire from nine to fifteen feet in depth ; but skirting the 
western side of the lake about a mile from the shore the 
water deepened from nine to fifteen fathoms; then, as we 
rounded the grand mountainous promontory, which we named 
Cape Maclear, after our excellent friend the Astronomer 
Eoyal at the Cape of Good Hope, we could get no bottom 
with our lead-line of thirty-five fathoms. We pulled along 
the western shore, which was a succession of bays, and found 
that where the bottom was sandy near the beach, and to 
a mile out, the depth varied from six to fourteen fathoms. 
In a rocky bay about latitude 11° 40' we had soundings at 

Chap. XIX. 



100 fathoms, though outside the same bay we found none 
with a fishing-line of 116 fathoms ; but this cast was unsatis- 
factory, as the line broke in coming up. According to our 
present knowledge, a ship could anchor only near the shore. 

Looking back to the southern end of Lake Nyassa, the 
arm from which the Shire flows was found to be about thirty 
miles long and from ten to twelve broad. Rounding Cape 
Maclear, and looking to the south-west, we have another 
arm, which stretches some eighteen miles southward, and 
is from six to twelve miles in breadth. These arms give the 
southern end a forked appearance, and with the help of 
a little imagination it may be likened to the " boot-shape " 
of Italy. The narrowest part is about the ankle, eighteen or 
twenty miles. From this it widens to the north, and in the 
upper third or fourth it is fifty or sixty miles broad. The 
length is over 200 miles. The direction in which it lies 
is as near as possible due north and south. Nothing of the 
great bend to the west, shown in all the previous maps, could 
be detected by either compass or chronometer, and the watch 
we used was an excellent one. The season of the year was 
very unfavourable. The " smokes " filled the air with an 
impenetrable haze, and the equinoctial gales made it 
impossible for us to cross to the eastern side. When 
we caught a glimpse of the sun rising from behind the 
mountains to the east, we made sketches and bearings of 
them at different latitudes, which enabled us to secure ap- 
proximate measurements of the width. These agreed with 
the times taken by the natives at the different crossing- 
places — as Tsenga, and Molamba. About the beginning of 
the upper third the lake is crossed by taking advantage of 
the island Chizumara, which name in the native tongue 
means the " ending ; " further north they go round the end 
instead, though that takes several days. 

2 B 



Chap. XIX. 

The lake appeared to be surrounded by mountains, but 
it was afterwards found that these beautiful tree-covered 
heights were, on the west, only the edges of high table-lands. 
Like all narrow seas encircled by highlands, it is visited 
by sudden and tremendous storms. We were on it in 
September and October, perhaps the stormiest season of 
the year, and were repeatedly detained by gales. At times, 
while sailing pleasantly over the blue water with a gentle 
breeze, suddenly and without any warning was heard the 
sound of a coming storm, roaring on with crowds of angry 
waves in its wake. We were caught one morning with the 
sea breaking all around us, and, unable either to advance or 
recede, anchored a mile from shore, in seven fathoms. The 
furious surf on the beach would have shivered our slender 
boat to atoms, had we tried to land. The waves most dreaded 
came rolling on in threes, with then crests, driven into spray, 
streaming behind them. A short lull followed each triple 
charge. Had one of these white-maned seas struck our 
frail bark, nothing could have saved us ; for they came on 
with resistless force ; seaward, in shore, and on either side of 
us, they broke in foam, but we escaped. For six weary 
hours we faced those terrible trios, any one of which 
might have been carrying the end of our Expedition in its 
hoary head. A low, dark, detached, oddly-shaped cloud 
came slowly from the mountains, and hung for hours directly 
over our heads. A flock of night-jars (Cometornis vexillarius), 
which on no other occasion come out by day, soared above us 
in the gale, like birds of evil omen. Our black crew became 
sea-sick and unable to sit up or keep the boat's head to the 
sea. The natives and our land party stood on the high cliffs 
looking at us and exclaiming, as the waves seemed to swallow 
up the boat, " They are lost ! they are all dead ! " When at 
last the gale moderated and we got safely ashore, they saluted 



us warmly, as after a long absence. From this time we 
trusted implicitly to the opinions of our seaman, John Neil, 
who, having been a fisherman on the coast of Ireland, under- 
stood boating on a stormy coast, and by his advice we often 
sat cowering on the land for days together waiting for the 
surf to go down. He had never seen such waves before. 
We had to beach the boat every night to save her from 
being swamped at anchor ; and, did we not believe the gales 
to be peculiar to one season of the year, would call Nyassa, 
the "Lake of Storms." 

Lake Nyassa receives no great affluents from the west. 
The five rivers we observed in passing did not at this time 
appear to bring in as much water as the Shire was carrying 
out. They were from fifteen to thirty yards wide, and some 
too deep to ford; but the evaporation must be very con- 
siderable. These streams, with others of about the same 
size from the mountains on the east and north, when swollen 
by the rains may be sufficient to account for the rise in 
the lake without any large river. The natives nearest 
the northern end denied the existence of a large river 
there, though at one time it seemed necessary to account 
for the Shire's perennial flow. Distinct white marks on the 
rocks showed that, for some time during the rainy season, 
the water of the lake is three feet above the point to which 
it falls towards the close of the dry period of the year. The 
rains begin here in November, and the permanent rise of the 
Shire does not take place till January. The western side of 
Lake Nyassa, with the exception of the great harbour to the 
west of Cape Maclear, is, as has been said before, a succession 
of small bays of nearly similar form, each having an open sandy 
beach and pebbly shore, and being separated from its neigh- 
bour by a rocky headland, with detached rocks extending 
some distance out to sea. The great south-western bay referred 

2 b 2 


to would form a magnificent harbour, the only really good one 
we saw to the west. 

The land immediately adjacent to the lake is low and 
fertile, though in some places marshy and tenanted by large 
flocks of ducks, geese, herons, crowned cranes, and other birds. 
In the southern part we have sometimes ten or a dozen miles 
of rich plains, bordered by what seem high ranges of well- 
wooded hills, running nearly parallel with the lake. North- 
wards the mountains become loftier and present some magni- 
ficent views, range towering beyond range, until the dim, 
lofty outlines projected against the sky bound the prospect. 
Still further north the plain becomes more narrow, 
until, near where we turned, it disappears altogether, and 
the mountains rise abruptly out of the lake, forming the 
north-east boundary of what was described to us as an exten- 
sive table-land, well suited for pasturage and agriculture, and 
now only partially occupied by a tribe of Zulus, who came 
from the south some years ago. These people own large 
herds of cattle, and are constantly increasing in numbers by 
annexing other tribes. 

Never before in Africa have we seen anything like the dense 
population on the shores of Lake Nyassa. In the southern 
part, there was an almost unbroken chain of villages. On 
the beach of wellnigh every little sandy bay, dark crowds 
were standing, gazing at the novel sight of a boat under sail ; 
and wherever we landed we were surrounded in a few seconds 
by hundreds of men, women, and children, who hastened to 
have a stare at the " chironibo " (wild animals). To see the 
animals feed was the greatest attraction ; never did the Zoo- 
logical Society's lions or monkeys draw more sightseers, 
than we did. Indeed, we equalled the hippopotamus on his first 
arrival among the civilized on the banks of the Thames. The 
wondering multitude crowded round us at meal-times and 

Chap. XIX. 



formed a thicket of dark bodies, all looking on, apparently, 
with the deepest interest ; but they goodnaturedly kept each 
other to a line we made on the sand, and left us room to dine. 
They were civil upon the whole. Twice they went the length 
of lifting up the edge of our sail, which we used as a tent, as 
boys do the curtains of travelling menageries at home. They 
named us indeed " chirombo," which means only the wild 
beasts that may be eaten, but they had no idea that we 
understood their meaning. No fines were levied on us, nor 
dues demanded. At one village only were they impudent, 
but they were "elevated" by beer. They cultivate thejsoil 
pretty extensively, and grow large quantities of rice and 
sweet potatoes, as well as maize, mapira, and millet. In 
the north, however, cassava is the staple product, which, with 
fish kept till the flavour is high, constitutes the main sup- 
port of the inhabitants. During a portion of the year, the 
northern dwellers on the lake have a harvest which furnishes 
a singular sort of food. As we approached our limit 
in that direction, clouds, as of smoke rising from miles 
of burning grass, were observed bending in a south- 
easterly direction, and we thought that the unseen land on 
the opposite side was closing in, and that we were near the 
end of the lake. But next morning we sailed through one of 
the clouds on our own side, and discovered that it was neither 
smoke nor haze, but countless millions of minute midges 
called " kungo " (a cloud or fog). They filled the air to an 
immense height, and swarmed upon the water, too light to 
sink in it. Eyes and mouth had to be kept closed while 
passing through this living cloud : they struck upon the face 
like fine drifting snow. Thousands lay in the boat when she 
emerged from the cloud of midges. The people gather these 
minute insects by night, and boil them into thick cakes, to be 
used as a relish— millions of midges in a cake. A kungo 


cake, an inch thick and as large as the blue bonnet of a Scotch 
ploughman, was offered to us ; it was very dark in colour, 
and tasted not unlike caviare, or salted locusts. 

Abundance of excellent fish are found in the lake, and nearly 
all were new to us. The nipasa or sanjika, found by Dr. Kirk 
to be a kind of carp, was running up the rivers to spawn, like 
our salmon at home : the largest we saw was over two feet in 
length ; it is a splendid fish, and the best we have ever eaten in 
Africa. They were ascending the riversln August and Sep- 
tember, and furnished active and profitable employment to 
many fishermen, who did not mind their being out of season. 
Weirs were constructed full of sluices, in each of which was 
set a large basket-trap, through whose single tortuous opening 
the fish once in has but small chance of escape. A short 
distance below the weir, nets are stretched across from bank 
to bank, so that it seemed a marvel how the most 
sagacious sanjika could get up at all without being taken. 
Possibly a passage up the river is found at night ; but this 
is not the country of Sundays or " close times " for either men, 
or fish. The lake fish are caught chiefly in nets, although 
men, and even women with babies on their backs, are occa- 
sionally seen fishing from the rocks with hooks. 

A net with small meshes is used for catching the young fry 
of a silvery kind like pickerel, when they are about two inches 
long ; thousands are often taken in a single haul. We had 
a present of a large bucketful one day for dinner : they tasted 
as if they had been cooked with a little quinine, probably 
from their gall-bladders being left in. In deep water, 
some sorts are taken by lowering fish-baskets attached 
by a long cord to a float, around which is often tied a mass of 
grass or weeds, as an alluring shade for the deep-sea fish. 
Fleets of fine canoes are engaged in the fisheries. The men 
have long paddles, and stand erect while using them. They 

€hap. XIX. 



sometimes venture out when a considerable sea is running*. 
Our Makololo acknowledged that, in handling canoes, the 
Lake men beat them ; they were unwilling to cross the 
Zambesi even, when the wind blew fresh. The first impres- 
sion one receives of the Lake Nyassa men is, that they are 
far from being industrious — or, to be more explicit, are 
troubled with downright laziness. Groups may be seen 
during the day lying fast asleep under the shady trees along 
the shore, and apparently taking life very easily : but, on a 
little better acquaintance, this first impression is modified, 
and it is found that these forenoon sleepers have been hard 
at work the greater part of the night. In the afternoon they 
begin to bestir themselves ; examining and mending their nets, 
carrying them to the canoes, and coiling in their lines. In 
the evening they paddle off to the best fishing station, and 
throughout most of the night the poor fellows are toiling in 
the water, dragging their nets. They too suffer from fever. 
We saw the herpetic eruptions round their mouths which 
often mark its cure, and found that the chills act on them, 
though their skin is much more torpid in function than ours. 
Hence that conformity to the customs of the natives, which 
some people enjoin, would require modification for our highly 
excitable skins. Our beards grow as much in a week as 
theirs do in a month. 

Though there are many crocodiles in the lake, and some 
of an extraordinary size, the fishermen say that it is a rare 
thing for any one to be carried off by these reptiles. When 
crocodiles can easily obtain abundance of fish — their 
natural food — they seldom attack men ; but when unable to 
see to catch their prey, from the muddiness of the water in 
floods, they are very dangerous. 

Many men and boys are employed in gathering the buaze, 
in preparing the fibre, and in making it into long nets. The 

376 BARK CLOTH. Chap. XIX. 

knot of the net is different from ours, for they invariably use 
what sailors call the reef knot, but they net with a needle 
like that we use. From the amount of native cotton cloth 
worn in many of the southern villages, it is evident that a 
goodly number of busy hands, and patient heads, must be em- 
ployed in the cultivation of cotton and in the various slow pro- 
cesses through which it has to pass, before the web is finished 
in the native loom. In addition to this branch of industry, an 
extensive manufacture of cloth, from the inner bark of an un- 
described tree, of the botanical group, Ccesalpinece, is ever 
going on, from one end of the lake to the other ; and both 
toil and time are required to procure the bark, and to prepare 
it by pounding and steeping it to render it soft and pliable. 
The prodigious amount of the bark clothing worn indicates 
the destruction of an immense number of trees every year; 
yet the adjacent heights seem still well covered with timber. 

The Lake people are by no means handsome : the women — 
to use our mildest term to the fair sex — are very plain ; and 
really make themselves hideous by the means they adopt to 
render their persons beautiful and attractive. The pelele, or 
ornament for the upper lip, is universally worn by the ladies ; 
the most valuable is of pure tin, hammered into the shape of 
a small dish ; some are made of white quartz, and give the 
wearer the appearance of having an inch or more of one of 
Price's patent candles thrust through the lip, and projecting 
beyond the tip of the nose. Some ladies, not content with the 
upper pelele, go to extremes, as ladies will, and insert another 
in the under lip through a hole almost opposite the lower 
gums. A few peleles are made of a blood-red kind of 
pipeclay, much in fashion, — " sweet things " in the way of 
lip-rings ; but so hideous to behold, that no time nor usage 
could make our eyes rest upon them without aversion. 

All the natives are tattooed from head to foot, the figures 


being characteristic of the tribes, and varying with them. The 
Matumboka, or Atimboka, raise up little knobs on the skin of 
their faces, after a fashion that makes them look as if covered 
all over with warts or pimples. The young girls are good- 
looking before this ugly adornment hardens the features, 
and gives them the appearance of age. Their gowns are in- 
describable, owing to the extreme scantiness of the material 
from which they are cut, and their beautiful teeth are notched 
or clipped to points like those of cats. 

In character, the Lake tribes are very much like other 
people ; there are decent men among them, while a good 
many are no better than they should be. They are open- 
handed enough : if one of us, as was often the case, went to 
see a net drawn, a fish was always offered. Sailing one day 
past a number of men, who had just dragged their nets 
ashore, at one of the fine fisheries at Pamalombe, we were 
hailed and asked to stop, and received a liberal donation of 
beautiful fish. Arriving late one afternoon at a small village 
on the lake, a number of the inhabitants manned two canoes, 
took out their seine, dragged it, and made us a present of 
the entire haul. The northern Chief, Marenga, a tall hand- 
some man, with a fine aquiline nose, whom we found living 
in his stockade in a forest about twenty miles north of the 
mountain Kowirwe, behaved like a gentleman to us. His 
land extended from Dambo to the north of Makuza hill. 
He was specially generous, and gave us bountiful presents 
of food and beer. " Do they wear such things in your coun- 
try ? " he asked, pointing to his iron bracelet, which was 
studded with copper, and highly prized. The Doctor said 
he had never seen such in his country, whereupon Marenga 
instantly took it off, and presented it to him, and his wife 
also did the same with hers. On our return south from the 
mountains near the north end of the Lake, we reached 


Marenga's on the 7th October. When he could not prevail 
upon us to forego the advantage of a fair wind for his 
invitation to " spend the whole day drinking his beer, which 
was," he said " quite ready," he loaded us with provisions, all 
of which he sent for before we gave him any present. In 
allusion to the boat's sail, his people said that they had no 
Bazimo, or none worth having, seeing they had never in- 
vented the like for them. The Chief, Mankambira, likewise 
treated us with kindness; but wherever the slave-trade is 
carried on, the people are dishonest and uncivil ; that invari- 
ably leaves a blight and a curse in its path. The first ques- 
tion put to us at the lake crossing-places, was, " Have you 
come to buy slaves?" On hearing that we were English, 
and never purchased slaves, the questioners put on a super- 
cilious air, and sometimes refused to sell us food. This want 
of respect to us may have been owing to the impressions con- 
veyed to them by the Arabs, whose dhows have sometimes 
been taken by English cruisers when engaged in lawful trade. 
Much foreign cloth, beads, and brass-wire, were worn by these 
ferrymen — and some had muskets. 

By Chitanda, near one of the slave crossing-places, we were 
robbed for the first time in Africa, and learned by expe- 
rience that these people, like more civilized nations, have 
expert thieves among them. It might be only a coincidence ; 
but we never suffered from impudence, loss of property, or were 
endangered, unless among people familiar with slaving. 
We had such a general sense of security, that never, 
save when we suspected treachery, did we set a watch at 
night. Our native companions had, on this occasion, 
been carousing on beer, and had removed to a distance 
of some thirty yards, that we might not overhear their 
free and easy after-dinner remarks, and two of us had a 
slight touch of fever; between three and four o'clock in 

Chap. XIX. 



the morning some light-fingered gentry came, while we slept 
ingloriously — rifles and revolvers all ready, — and relieved us 
of most of our goods. The boat's sail, under which we slept, 
was open all around, so the feat was easy. One of us felt 
his pillow moving, but in the delicious dreamy state in which 
he lay, thought it was one of the attendants adjusting his 
covering, and so, as he fancied, let well alone. 

Awaking as honest men do, at the usual hour, the loss of 
one was announced by "My bag is gone — with all my 
clothes ; and my boots too ! " " And mine ! " responded a 
second. " And mine also ! " chimed in the third, " with the 
bag of beads, and the rice ! " " Is the cloth taken ? " was 
the eager inquiry, as that would have been equivalent to all 
our money. It had been used for a pillow that night, and 
thus saved. The rogues left on the beach, close to our beds, 
the Aneroid Barometer and a pair of boots, thinking, pos- 
sibly, that they might be of use to us, or, at least, that they 
could be of none to them. They shoved back some dried 
plants and fishes into one bag, but carried off many other 
specimens we had collected; some of our notes also, and 
nearly all our clothing ; one of our party, indeed, rose with 
nothing belonging to him but what he happened to have 
on at the time; another was indebted to female curiosity 
for the safety of his best suit; for, having on the day pre- 
vious, Sunday, retired from the crowd to have a bath and 
change among the reeds, he looked about before being 
quite undressed, and found a crowd of ladies peering at 
the apparition. He retired without either bath or change 
of apparel. One feels ashamed of the white skin ; it seems 
unnatural, like blanched celery — or white mice. On re- 
turning to the camp, which was surrounded with perpetual 
clatter and crowds of visitors all day, he changed his cloth- 
ing after dark, putting on and sleeping in his best, as it 


was too late to change it again, so the worst only was 

We could not suspect the people of the village near which 
we lay. We had probably been followed for days by the 
thieves watching for an opportunity. And our suspicions 
fell on some persons who had come from the East Coast ; but 
having no evidence, and expecting to hear if our goods were 
exposed for sale in the vicinity, we made no fuss about it, 
and began to make new clothing. That our rifles and revolvers 
were left untouched was greatly to our advantage : yet we 
felt it was most humiliating for armed men to have been so 
thoroughly fleeced by a few black rascals. 

Some of the best fisheries appear to be private property. 
We found shelter from a storm one morning in a spacious 
lagoon, which communicated with the lake by a narrow 
passage. Across this strait stakes were driven in, leaving 
only spaces for the basket fish-traps. A score of men were 
busily engaged in taking out the fish. We tried to purchase 
some, but they refused to sell. The fish did not belong to 
them, they would send for the proprietor of the place. The 
proprietor arrived in a short time, and readily sold what we 

Some of the burying-grouncls are very well arranged, and 
well cared for ; this was noticed at Chitanda, and more parti- 
cularly at a village on the southern shore of the fine harbour 
at Cape Maclear. Wide and neat paths were made in the bury- 
ing-ground on its eastern and southern sides. A grand old fig- 
tree stood at the north-east corner, and its wide-spreading 
branches threw their kindly shade over the last resting-place 
of the dead. Several other magnificent trees grew around 
the hallowed spot. Mounds were raised as they are at 
home, but all lay north and south, the heads apparently 
north. The graves of the sexes were distinguished by 

Chap. XIX. 



the various implements which the buried dead had used 
in their different employments during life ; but they were 
all broken as if to be employed no more. A piece of 
fishing-net and a broken paddle told that a fisherman 
slept beneath that sod. The graves of the women had the 
wooden mortar, and the heavy pestle used in pounding 
the corn, and the basket in which the meal is sifted, wlnle 
all had numerous broken calabashes and pots arranged 
around them. The idea that the future life is like the pre- 
sent does not appear to prevail ; yet a banana- tree had been 
carefully planted at the head of several of the graves, and, 
if not merely for ornament, the fruit might be considered an 
offering to those who still possess human tastes. The people 
of the neighbouring villages were friendly and obliging, and 
willingly brought us food for sale. 

Pursuing our exploration, we found that the northern 
part of the lake was the abode of lawlessness and blood- 
shed. The Mazite or Mazitu live on the highlands, and 
make sudden swoops on the villages of the plains. They 
are Zulus who came originally from the south, inland of 
Sofalla and Inhambane ; and are of the same family as those 
who levy annual tribute from the Portuguese on the Zambesi. 
All the villages north of Mankambira's (lat. 11° 44' south) 
had been recently destroyed by these terrible marauders, 
but they were foiled in their attacks upon that Chief and 
Marenga. The thickets and stockades round their villages 
enabled the bowmen to pick off the Mazitu in security, 
while they were afraid to venture near any place where 
they could not use their shields. Beyond Mankambira's we 
saw burned villages, and the putrid bodies of many who had 
fallen by Mazitu spears only a few days before. Our land 
party were afraid to go further, and dreaded meeting the 
inflicters of the terrible vengeance, of which they saw 



the evidence at every turning, without a European in 
their company. This reluctance on the part of the native 
land party to proceed without the presence of a white man 
was very natural, because bands of the enemy who had 
ravaged the country were supposed to be still roaming 
about ; and, if these marauders saw none but men of their 
own colour, our party might forthwith be attacked. Com- 
pliance with their request led to an event which might have 
been attended by very serious consequences. Dr. Living- 
stone got separated from the party in the boat for four 
days. Having taken the first morning's journey along with 
them, and directing the boat to call for him in a bay in 
sight, both parties proceeded north. In an hour Dr. Living- 
stone and his party struck inland, on approaching the foot of 
the mountains which rise abruptly from the lake. Supposing 
that they had heard of a path behind the high range 
which there forms the shore, those in the boat held on 
their course ; but it soon began to blow so fresh that they 
had to run ashore for safety. While delayed a couple of 
hours, two men were sent up the hills to look for the land 
party, but they could see nothing of them, and the boat 
party sailed as soon as it was safe to put to sea, with the 
conviction that the missing ones would regain the lake in 

In a short time a small island or mass of rocks was passed, 
on which were a number of armed Mazitu with some young 
women apparently their wives. The headman said that he 
had been wounded in the foot by Mankambira, and that 
they were staying there till he could walk to his Chief, who 
lived over the hills. They had several large canoes, and it 
was evident that this was a nest of lake pirates, who sallied 
out by night to kill and plunder. They reported a path be- 
hind the hills, and, the crew being reassured, the boat sailed on. 

Chap. XIX. 



A few miles further, another and still larger band of pirates 
were fallen in with, and hundreds of crows and kites hovered 
over and round the rocks on which they lived. Dr. Kirk and 
Charles Livingstone, though ordered in a voice of authority 
to come ashore, kept on their course. A number of canoes 
then shot out from the rocks and chased them. One with 
nine strong paddlers persevered for some time after all the 
others gave up the chase. A good breeze, however, enabled 
the gig to get away from them with ease. After sailing 
twelve or fifteen miles, north of the point where Dr. Living- 
stone had left them, it was decided that he must be behind; 
but no sooner had the boat's head been turned south, than 
another gale compelled her to seek shelter in a bay. Here 
a number of wretched fugitives from the slave-trade on the 
opposite shore of the lake were found ; the original inhabi- 
tants of the place had all been swept off the year before 
by the Mazitu. In the deserted gardens beautiful cotton 
was seen growing, much of it had the staple an inch and a 
half long, and of very fine quality. Some of the plants 
were uncommonly large, deserving to be ranked with trees. 

On their trying to purchase food, the natives had nothing to 
sell except a little dried cassava-root, and a few fish : and they 
demanded two yards of calico for the head only of a large 
fish. "When the gale admitted of their return, their former 
pursuers tried to draw them ashore by asserting that they 
had quantities of ivory for sale. Owing to a succession of 
gales, it was the fourth day from parting that the boat was 
found by Dr. Livingstone, who was coming on in search of 
it with only two of his companions. 

After proceeding a short distance up the path in which 
they had been lost sight of, they learned that it would take 
several days to go round the mountains, and rejoin the lake ; 
and they therefore turned down to the bay, expecting to find 



Chap. XIX. 

the boat, but only saw it disappearing away to the north. 
They pushed on as briskly as possible after it, but the 
mountain flank which forms the coast proved excessively 
tedious and fatiguing; travelling all day, the distance 
made, in a straight line, was under five miles. As soon as 
day dawned, the march was resumed ; and, after hearing at 
the first inhabited rock that their companions had passed it 
the day before, a goat was slaughtered out of the four which 
they had with them, when suddenly, to the evident con- 
sternation of the men, seven Mazitu appeared armed with 
spears and shields, with their heads dressed fantastically 
with feathers. To hold a parley, Dr. Livingstone and 
Moloka, a Makololo man who spoke Zulu, went unarmed 
to meet them. On Dr. Livingstone approaching them, 
they ordered him to stop, and sit down in the sun, 
while they sat in the shade. "No, no!" was the reply, 
"if you sit in the shade, so will we." They then 
rattled their shields with their clubs, a proceeding which 
usually inspires terror ; but Moloka remarked, " It is not the 
first time we have heard shields rattled." And all sat down 
together. They asked for a present, to show their Chief 
that they had actually met strangers — something as evidence 
of having seen men who were not Arabs. And they were 
requested in turn to take these strangers to the boat or to their 
Chief. All the goods were in the boat, and to show that no pre- 
sent such as they wanted was in his pockets, Dr. Livingstone 
emptied them, turning out, among other things, a note-book : 
thinking it was a pistol they started up, and said, "Put 
that in again." The younger men then became boisterous, and 
demanded a goat. That could not be spared, as they were the 
sole provisions. When they insisted, they were asked how 
many of the party they had killed, that they thus began to 
divide the spoil ; this evidently made them ashamed. The 



elders were more reasonable ; they dreaded treachery, and 
were as much afraid of Dr. Livingstone and his party as his 
men were of them ; for on leaving they sped away up the 
hills like frightened deer. One of them, and probably the 
leader, was married, as seen by portions of his hair sewn 
into a ring ; all were observed by their teeth to be people of 
the country, who had been incorporated into the Zulu tribe. 

The way still led over a succession of steep ridges with 
ravines of from 500 to 1000 feet in depth ; some of the sides 
had to be scaled on hands and knees, and no sooner was the 
top reached than the descent began again. Each ravine had 
a running stream; and the whole country, though so very 
rugged, had all been cultivated, and densely peopled. 
Many banana-trees, uncared for patches of corn, and Congo- 
bean bushes attested former cultivation. The population 
had all been swept away ; ruined villages, broken utensils, 
and human skeletons, met with at every turn, told a sad tale 
of " man's inhumanity to man." So numerous were the slain, 
that it was thought the inhabitants had been slaughtered in 
consequence of having made raids on the Zulus for cattle. 

We conjectured this to be the cause of the wholesale 
butchery, because Zulus do not usually destroy any save 
the old, and able-bodied men. The object of their raids 
in general is that the captured women and children may be 
embodied into the tribe, and become Zulus. The masters 
of the captives are kind to them, and the children are put 
on the same level as those of any ordinary man. In their 
usual plan, we seem to have the condition so bepraised by 
some advocates for slavery. The members of small dis- 
united communities are taken under a powerful government 
— obtain kind masters, whom they are allowed to exchange 
for any one else within the tribe, and their children become 
freemen. It is, as our eyes and nostrils often found by the 

2 c 


putrid bodies of the slain, a sad system nevertheless — yet 
by no means so bad as that which, causing a still greater 
waste of human life, consigns the surviving victims to per- 
petual slavery. The Zulus are said never to sell their 

Several Senna men were of the land party ; one of these, 
a dice diviner, being mortally afraid of the Mazitu bolted the 
moment he saw our visitors. Before again starting, his com- 
rades shouted for him, and called him by firing their muskets 
for a long time ; but he could not be induced to come out 
from his hiding-place. 

Continuing the journey that night as long as light served, 
they slept unconsciously on the edge of a deep precipice, with- 
out fire lest the Mazitu should see it. Next morning most 
of the men were tired out, the dread of the apparition of the 
day before tending probably to increase the lameness of 
which they complained. When told, however, that all might 
return to Mankambira's save two, Moloka and Charlie, they 
would not, till assured that the act would not be considered 
one of cowardice. Giving them one of the goats as provision, 
another was slaughtered for the remainder of the party who, 
having found on the rocks a canoe which had belonged to one 
of the deserted villages, determined to put to sea again ; but 
the craft was very small, and the remaining goat, spite of 
many a threat of having its throat cut, jumped and rolled 
about so, as nearly to capsize it ; so Dr. Livingstone took to 
the shore again, and after another night spent without fire, 
except just for cooking, was delighted to see the boat coming 

We pulled that day to Mankambira's, a distance that on 
shore, with the most heartbreaking toil, had taken three days 
to travel. This was the last latitude taken, 11° 44' S. The 
boat had gone about 24' further to the north, the land party 

Chap. XIX. 



probably half that distance, but fever prevented the instru- 
ments being used. Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone were 
therefore furthest up the lake, and they saw about 20' beyond 
their turning-point, say into the tenth degree of south lati- 
tude. From the heights of at least a thousand feet, over 
which the land party toiled, the dark mountain masses on 
both sides of the lake were seen closing in. At this eleva- 
tion the view extended at least as far as that from the boats, 
and it is believed the end of the lake lies on the southern 
borders of 10°, or the northern limits of 11°, south latitude. 

Mankambira thought that our diviner would die of starva- 
tion in the mountains ; but he promised that, if he survived 
and came to him, he would give him food, and send him 
after us. A week afterwards the poor fellow overtook us, 
to the great delight of his comrades, who ran back to 
meet and salute him ; they danced and shouted with joy, 
and fired off their muskets. He had heard, from his place 
of concealment his comrades calling for him and firing, 
but did not answer, because he thought that they were 
fighting with the Mazitu. Hunger at length drove him 
from the mountains. Mankambira treated him kindly, gave 
him food, and sent him on, as he had promised; but a 
set of lawless fellows between Mankambira's and Marenga's 
seized and robbed him, and put a slave-stick on his neck, 
intending to sell him as a slave, when some of the older 
men said that the English would come back and avenge 
the deed if they stole him. He was then let go, and Ma- 
renga also gave him food, and a piece of bark cloth as a 

Elephants are numerous on the borders of the lake, and 
surprisingly tame, being often found close to the villages. 
Hippopotami swarm very much at their ease in the creeks 
and lagoons, and herds are sometimes seen in the lake itself. 

2 c 2 



Chap. XIX- 

Their' tameness arises from the fact that poisoned arrows 
have no effect on either elephant or hippopotamus. Five 
of each were shot for food during our journey. Two 
of the elephants were females, and had only a single 
tusk apiece, and were each killed by the first shot. It is 
always a case of famine or satiety, when depending on the 
rifle for food— a glut of meat or none at all. Most frequently 
it is scanty fare, except when game is abundant, as it is far up 
the Zambesi. We had one morning two hippopotami and an 
elephant, perhaps in all some eight tons of meat, and two days 
after the last of a few sardines only for dinner. 

One morning when sailing past a pretty-thickly inhabited 
part, we were surprised at seeing nine large bull-elephants 
standing near the beach quietly flapping their gigantic ears. 
Glad of an opportunity of getting some fresh meat, we 
landed and fired into one. They all retreated into a marshy 
piece of ground between two villages. Our men gave chase, 
and fired into the herd. Standing on a sand hummock, we 
could see the bleeding animals throwing showers of water 
with their trunks over their backs. The herd was soon driven 
back upon us, and a wounded one turned to bay. Yet neither 
this one, nor any of the others, ever attempted to charge. 
Having broken his legs with a rifle-ball, we fired into him 
at forty yards as rapidly as we could load and discharge 
the rifles. He simply shook his head at each shot, and 
received at least sixty Enfield balls before he fell. Our 
excellent sailor from the north of Ireland happened to fire the 
last, and, as soon as he saw the animal fall, he turned with an 
air of triumph to the Doctor and exclaimed, "It was my shot 
that done it, sir ! " 

In a few minutes, upwards of a thousand natives were round 
the prostrate king of beasts ; and, after our men had taken all 
they wanted, an invitation was given to the villagers to take 

Chap. XIX. 



the remainder. They rushed at it like hungry hyenas, and 
in an incredibly short time every inch of it was carried off. 
It was only by knowing that the meat would all be used, that 
we felt justified in the slaughter of this noble creature. The 
tusks weighed 62 lbs. each. A large amount of ivory might 
be obtained from the people of Nyassa, and we were frequently 
told of their having it in their huts. 

While detained by a storm on the 17th October at the 
mouth of the Kaombe, we were visited by several men belong- 
ing to an Arab who had been for fourteen years in the interior 
at Katanga's, south of Cazembe's. They had just brought 
down ivory, malachite, copper rings, and slaves to exchange 
for cloth at the lake. The malachite was said to be dug out 
of a large vein on the side of a hill near Katanga's. They 
knew Lake Tanganyika well, but had not heard of the Zambesi. 
They spoke quite positively, saying that the water of Lake 
Tanganyika flowed out by the opposite end to that of Nyassa. 
As they had seen neither of the overflows, we took it simply as 
a piece of Arab geography. We passed their establishment 
of long sheds next day, and were satisfied that the Arabs must 
be driving a good trade. It is difficult to get at facts, or 
draw out of the natives any reliable information respecting 
the country in front. Some are so suspicious of strangers that 
they show extreme caution in their answers, and are unwilling 
to commit themselves by any statement ; while others draw 
largely upon their imagination, and tell marvels equal to the 
most romancing tales of ancient travellers, or say just what 
they think will please one. 

" How far is it to the end of the lake ? " we inquired of an 
intelligent-looking native at the south part. w The other end 
of the lake ! " he exclaimed, in real or well-feigned astonish- 
ment, " who ever heard of such a thing ? Why, if one started 
when a mere boy to walk to the other end of the lake, he 


would* be an old grey-headed man before he got there. I 
never heard of such a thing being attempted/' We were 
told on the Kovuma that that river flowed out of Nyassa ; and 
on the lower half of the lake every one assured us that a 
canoe could sail out of Nyassa into the Kovuma ; but above 
that, their testimony differed, some saying that it ran near the 
lake but not out of it, and others were equally positive that it 
was several days' journey from Lake Nyassa. Mankambira 
had never heard of any large river in the north, and even 
denied its existence altogether ; giving us at the same time 
the names of the different halting-places round the head of 
the lake, and the number of days required to reach the coast 
opposite his village ; which corresponded, as nearly as we could 
judge, with the distance at which we have placed its end. 

The Lake slave-trade was going on at a terrible rate. 
Two enterprising Arabs had built a dhow, and were running 
her, crowded with slaves, regularly across the Lake. We 
were told she sailed the day before we reached their head- 
quarters. This establishment is in the latitude of the Portu- 
guese slave-exporting town of Iboe, and partly supplies that 
vile market ; but the greater number of the slaves go to 
Kilwa.* We did not see much evidence of a wish to 

* On one occasion one of our crui- 
sers, the Wasp, when calling at Iboe, 
was taken for a large slaver just then 
expected. The slaves in the vicinity 
were all hurried into the town, and, 
when Captain J. C. Stirling landed, it 
was full of them. Our friend Major 
Sicard was at the time Acting-Go- 
vernor of Iboe, though very much 
against his own wishes. It had be- 
come public that the late Governor 
had left, in certain boxes, vast sums 
of money accumulated by slave-trad- 
ing, and the Governor- General was 

said to be very much shocked that 
his confidential subordinate should 
have behaved so shamefully. Major 
Sicard had just received the thanks 
of our Government for his most 
disinterested kindness to the Expe- 
dition (and now that he has gone, 
as we trust, to a better world, we 
would say never were public thanks 
accompanied by more fervent private 
gratitude), and he was selected by 
the Governor-General to fill the vacant 
post of Governor at Iboe, until the 
then recent scandal had passed away 

Chap. XIX. 



barter. Some ivory was offered for sale ; but the chief 
traffic was in human chattels. Would that we could give a 
comprehensive account of the horrors of the slave-trade, 
with an approximation to the number of lives it yearly 
destroys ! for we feel sure that were even half the truth told 
and recognised, the feelings of men would be so thoroughly 
roused, that this devilish traffic in human flesh would be put 
down at all risks ; but neither we, nor any one else, have the 
statistics necessary for a work of this kind. Let us state 
what we do know of one portion of Africa, and then every 
reader who believes our tale, can apply the ratio of the 
known misery to find out the unknown. We were informed 
by Colonel Eigby, late H.M. Political Agent, and Consul at 
Zanzibar, that 19,000 slaves from this Nyassa country alone 
pass annually through the Custom-house of that island. This 
is exclusive of course of those sent to Portuguese slave-ports. 
Let it not be supposed for an instant that this number, 
19,000, represents all the victims. Those taken out of the 
country are but a very small section of the sufferers. We 
never realized the atrocious nature of the traffic, until we 
saw it at the fountain-head. There truly "Satan has his 
seat." Besides those actually captured, thousands are killed 

and been forgotten. Major Sicard 
protested against being thus placed 
over a nest of slave-dealers, from 
which it is scarcely possible for any 
Portuguese to escape with untarnished 
honour ; and naturally feared that the 
position he had acquired by receiving 
the thanks of the English Government 
would be seriously affected by such 
questionable promotion. His remon- 
strances were all in vain, for the 
Governor-General insisted, and as a sol- 
dier our friend had nothing left but to 
obey. When Captain Stirling landed, 

Major Sicard was so much taken 
aback by his own false position and 
the crowd of slaves ready for exporta- 
tion, that he could scarcely articulate, 
and, forgetting his usual prompt po- 
liteness, did not even ask his visitor to 
sit down. It is scarcely possible to 
conceive the force of temptation which 
must assail officers in a place like 
Iboe, which exists only by its ex- 
tensive trade in slaves, and where any 
man who might feel squeamish as to 
the profits would be universally es- 
teemed a fool. 



Chap. XIX. 

and die of their wounds and famine, driven from their villages 
by the slave raid proper. Thousands perish in internecine 
war waged for slaves with their own clansmen and neigh- 
bours, slain by the lust of gain, which is stimulated, be it re- 
membered always, by the slave purchasers of Cuba and 
elsewhere. The many skeletons we have seen, amongst rocks 
and woods, by the little pools, and along the paths of the 
wilderness, attest the awful sacrifice of human life, which 
must be attributed, directly or indirectly, to this trade of hell. 
We would ask our countrymen to believe us when we say, as 
we conscientiously can, that it is our deliberate opinion from 
what we know and have seen, that not one-fifth of the victims of 
the slave-trade ever become slaves. Taking the Shire Yalley 
as an average, we should say not even one-tenth arrive at 
their destination. As the system, therefore, involves such 
an awful waste of human life, — or shall we say of human 
labour ? — and moreover tends directly to perpetuate the bar- 
barism of those who remain in the country, the argument 
for the continuance of this wasteful course because, forsooth, 
a fraction of the enslaved may find good masters, seems of no 
great value. This reasoning, if not the result of ignorance, 
may be of maudlin philanthropy. A small armed steamer 
on Lake Nyassa could easily, by exercising a control, and 
furnishing goods in exchange for ivory and other products, 
break the neck of this infamous traffic in that quarter ; for 
nearly all must cross the Lake or the Upper Shire. 

Our exploration of the Lake extended from the 2nd 


September to the 27th October, 1861 ; and, having expended 
or lost most of the goods we had brought, it was necessary to 
go back to the ship. When near the southern end, on our 
return, we were told that a very large slave-party had just 
crossed to the eastern side. We heard the fire of three guns 
in the evening, and judged by the report that they must be 

Chap. XIX. 



at least six-pounders. They were said to belong to an Ajawa 
Chief named Mukata. 

In descending the Shire, we found concealed in the broad 
belt of papyrus round the lakelet Pamalombe, into which the 
river expands, a number of Manganja families who had been 
driven from their homes by the Ajawa raids. So thickly did 
the papyrus grow, that when beat down it supported their 
small temporary huts, though when they walked from one 
hut to another, it heaved and bent beneath their feet as thin 
ice does at home. 

A dense and impenetrable forest of the papyrus was left 
standing between them and the land, and no one passing by on 
the same side would ever have suspected that human beings 
lived there. They came to this spot from the south by means 
of their canoes, which enabled them to obtain a living from 
the fine fish which abound in the lakelet. They had a large 
quantity of excellent salt sewed up in bark, some of which we 
bought, our own having run out. We anchored for the night 
off their floating camp, and were visited by myriads of 
mosquitoes. Some of the natives show a love of country 
quite surprising. We saw fugitives on the mountains, in the 
north of the lake, who were persisting in clinging to the haunts 
of their boyhood and youth, in spite of starvation and the 
continual danger of being put to death by the Mazitu. 

A few miles below the lakelet is the last of the great 
slave- crossings. Since the Ajawa invasion the villages on 
the left bank had been abandoned, and the people, as 
we saw in our ascent, were living on the right or western 

As we were resting for a few minutes opposite the valuable 
fishery at Movunguti, a young effeminate-looking man from 
some sea-coast tribe came in great state to have a look at us. 
He walked under a large umbrella, and was followed by five 


handsome damsels gaily dressed and adorned with a view to 
attract purchasers. One was carrying his pipe for smoking 
bang, here called " chamba ;" another his bow and arrows ; 
a third his battle-axe ; a fourth one of his robes ; while the 
last was ready to take his umbrella when he felt tired. This 
show of his merchandise was to excite the cupidity of any 
Chief who had ivory, and may be called the lawful way of 
carrying on the slave-trade. What proportion it bears to the 
other ways in which we have seen this traffic pursued, we 
never found means of forming a judgment. He sat and looked 
at us for a few minutes, the young ladies kneeling behind 
him ; and, having satisfied himself that we were not likely to 
be customers, he departed. 

On our first trip we met, at the landing opposite this place, 
a middle-aged woman of considerable intelligence, and pos- 
sessing more knowledge of the country than any of the 

An old Manganja Woman, showing the pelele or lip-ring and the tattooing in intersecting 

lines ou face, arms, and body. 


men. Our first definite information about Lake Nyassa was 
obtained from her. Seeing us taking notes, she remarked 
that she had been to the sea, and had there seen white men 
writing. She had seen camels also, probably among the Arabs. 
She was the only Manganja woman we ever met, who was 
ashamed of wearing the " pelele," or lip-ring. She retired to 
her hut, took it out, and kept her hand before her mouth to 
hide the hideous hole in the lip while conversing with us. 
All the villagers respected her, and even the headmen took a 
secondary place in her presence. On inquiring for her now, 
we found that she was dead. We never obtained sufficient 
materials to estimate the relative mortality of the highlands 
and lowlands ; but, from many very old white-headed blacks 
having been seen on the highlands, we think it probable 
that even native races are longer lived the higher their 
dwelling-places are. 

We landed below at Mikena's and took observations for 
longitude, to verify those taken two years before. The village 
was deserted, Mikena and his people having fled to the other 
side of the river. A few had come across this morning to work 
in their old gardens. After completing the observations we 
had breakfast ; and, as the last of the things were being car- 
ried into the boat, a Manganja man came running down to his 
canoe, crying out, " The Ajawa have just killed my comrade I " 
We shoved off, and in two minutes the advanced guard of a 
large marauding party were standing with their muskets on 
the spot where we had taken breakfast. They were evidently 
surprised at seeing us there, and halted; as did also the 
main body of perhaps a thousand men. "Kill them," cried 
the Manganja; "they are going up to the hills to kill the 
English," meaning the Missionaries we had left at Magomero. 
But having no prospect of friendly communication with them, 
nor confidence in Manganja's testimony, we proceeded down 



Chap. XIX. 

the rher ; leaving the Ajawa sitting under a large baobab, 
and the Manganja cursing them most energetically across 
the river. 

On our way up, we had seen that the people of Zimika had 
taken refuge on a long island in the Shire, where they had 
placed stores of grain to prevent it falling into the hands of the 
Ajawa ; supposing afterwards that the invasion and war were 
past, they had removed back again to the mainland on the 
east, and were living in fancied security. On approaching 
the Chief's village, which was built in the midst of a beau- 
tiful grove of lofty wild-fig and palm trees, sounds of revelry 
fell upon our ears. The people were having a merry time 
— drumming, dancing, and drinking beer— while a powerful 
enemy was close at hand, bringing death or slavery to every 
one in the village. One of our men called out to several who 
came to the bank to look at us, that the Ajawa were coming 
and were even now at Mikena's village ; but they were dazed 
with drinking, and took no notice of the warning. 

In passing a temporary village of Manganja fugitives, we 
saw a poor fellow with his neck in a slave-stick, and landed 
a few hundred feet below ; but when we walked up to the 
spot at which he had been, he had vanished, and every one 
denied having seen such a person there. Though suffering 
so terribly from the slave-trade themselves, these Manganja 
still patronized it. A man, near whose temporary hut we 
slept among a crowd of fugitives, started even before sun- 
rise, to sell a boy to some black Portuguese who were 
purchasing slaves in a neighbouring village. The fortune 
of war had brought this poor boy into the fellow's power, 
and the heartlessness of the ruffian, who had himself suf- 
fered the loss of everything by the slave-hunters, made us 
look upon him and his race as without natural affection. 
Selling each other, when on the point of perishing by 

Chap. XIX. 



starvation, not for grain, but cloth, of which there was no 
great lack, was so very unnatural, that at first we felt as if no 
mortal men, except blacks, could be guilty of such cruelty ; 
and began to speculate how the idea of property in human kind 
could ever enter into beings possessing reasonable minds like 
our own. We remembered, however, having seen a man who 
was reputed humane, and in whose veins no black blood flowed, 
parting for the sum of twenty dollars, or about 4£, with a 
good-looking girl, who stood in a closer relationship to him, 
than this boy did to the man who excited our ire ; and, she 
being the nurse of his son besides, both son and nurse made 
such a pitiable wail for an entire day, that even the half- 
caste who had bought her relented, and offered to return^ her 
to the white man, but in vain. Community in suffering 
does not always beget sympathy, though we naturally 
expect it should. This was proved in the case of the wreck 
of the French transport ship Medusa, on the West Coast, 
and may not be peculiar to black men. 

The Tette slavers subsequently brought over corn (mapira) 
and therewith bought many slaves. This might be con- 
sidered in one sense humane, as it actually kept many 
poor creatures from death by starvation ; but, as in the 
case of the "removal to kind masters" scheme, the saviours 
of lives are actually the destroyers of all the lives that are 

A number of elephants were standing near the spot where 
we left the boat, and one of the herd was engaged in the 
elephantine amusement of breaking down trees ; he did not 
eat any part of them, but simply rejoicing in his strength 
was knocking them over for the mere fun of the thing. 
Three Enfield and other rifle balls in the head sent him 
rushing through the thick bush with apparently as much ease, 
as if it were only grass : an immense number of trees are 



destroyed by these huge beasts. They frequently chew the 
branches for the bark and the sap alone. 

Crowds of carriers offered their services after we left the 
river. Several sets of thern placed so much confidence in 
us, as to decline receiving payment at the end of the first 
day ; they wished to work another day, and so receive both 
days' wages in one piece. The young headman of a new 
village himself came on with his men. The march was a 
pretty long one, and one of the men proposed to lay the 
burdens down beside a hut a mile or more from the next 
village. The headman scolded the fellow for his meanness 
in wishing to get rid of our goods where we could not 
procure carriers, and made him carry them on. The village, 
at the foot of the cataracts, had increased very much 
in size and wealth since we passed it on our way up. A 
number of large new huts had been built ; and the people 
had a good stock of cloth and beads. We could not 
account for this sudden prosperity, until we saw some fine 
large canoes, instead of the two old, leaky things which lay 
there before. This had become a crossing-place for the slaves 
that the Portuguese agents were carrying to Tette, because 
they were afraid to take them across nearer to where the ship 
lay, about seven miles off. Nothing was more disheartening 
than this conduct of the Manganja, in profiting by the entire 
breaking up of their nation. It was nearly as bad as the 
behaviour of our own countrymen, who bought up muskets 
and sent them out to the Chinese engaged in war with our 
own soldiers ; or of those who, at the Cape, supplied ammu- 
nition to the Kaffirs, under similar circumstances, and coolly 
fathered the traffic on the Missionaries. 


Extract of Despatch from Lieut. -Col. 
C. P. Rigby, H. M. Consul and British 
Agent, Zanzibar, to H. L. Anderson, 
Esq., Secretary to Government, Bom- 

"Bkitish Consulate, Zanzibar, 
«£ g IRj " \Uh July, 1860. 

"I have the honour to report, for 
the information of the Right Hon. the 
Governor in Council, that Dr. Albrect 
Roscher, a gentleman who was sent 
by His Majesty the King of Bavaria 
on a scientific mission to E. Africa, 
was murdered on the 19th of March 
last, at the village of Kisoongoonee, 
three days' journey to the north-east 
of Lake Nyassa." 


After some information bearing on 
Dr. Roscher's other movements, the 
despatch proceeds : — 

" 4. He again left Zanzibar in June, 
1859, to explore the great lake of 
Nyassa, and, having joined a caravan 
at Keelwa, started from that part on 
the 24th of August last, and reached 
the Lake on the 19th of November, 
being the first white man who has 
ever reached its shores." 

[The reason of Col. Rigby's mis- 
take was, that sufficient time had not 
elapsed for the news of our discovery 
of Nyassa to reach him at Zanzibar ; 
nor was it then known that the Lake 
Dr. Roscher and we had both visited 
was one and the same. It does not in 
the least detract from the honour due 
to Dr. Roscher for reaching the Lake 
by a path totally distinct from ours, 
that others had preceded him in the 
discovery ; but, for the sake of accu- 
racy, it is necessary to produce the 
grounds on which the precedence in 

the exploration is claimed by the Eng- 

" He was in very bad health when 
he left Zanzibar, and became so weak 
on the journey, that he was carried in 
a cot all the latter part of it. 

" He remained at Nussewa, on the 
borders of the Lake, nearly four 
months. On the 16th of March last 
he left Nussewa to go to the River 
Rovuma, which is crossed about twe' ve 
days' journey from Lake Nyassa on 
the road to Keelwa. He evidently in- 
tended to return to the Lake from the 
Rovuma, as he left nearly all his bag- 
gage in charge of the Sultan of Nus- 
sewa, and was only accompanied by 
two negro-servants and two porters 
for his luggage, viz., one man and one 

The despatch is long and full of 
details and depositions. Dr. Roscher's 
friend Kingomanga, the Sultan of 
Nussewa, lives three days from the 
Lake, and probably opposite Kotakota 
Bay, or even further south, and is of 
the Waiao tribe. 

The depositions of the natives are 
very interesting, as they show con- 
clusively that Roscher heard of us. 
Colonel Rigby thinks that Dr. Roscher 
had been told of the trip we had made 
to Shirwa, or as he writes it Kirwa, 
" where," he remarks, "the natives of 
Nussewa go for salt." But it is more 
likely that he heard of our arrival at 
the southern end of Nyassa where the 
Shire flows from it, where there are 
immense salt washings, and where we 
came in contact with a party of coast 
Arabs who fled by night, and would 
take the road through the Ajawa 
country in which Roscher arrived 
two months later, 



Chap. XX. 


Encouraging prospects — Bishop Mackenzie — Our progress down river arrested 

— River flooded in January, 1862 — Mariano resumes his career of slave- 
hunting — The Governor plays at hide and seek with him — Captain Alvez 

— Reach the Zambesi — A slave-owner's ideas of his slaves — Wisdom and 
humanity of Napoleon III. — At Luabo — Arrival of H.M.S. Gorgon — The 
Pioneer out of repair — Captain Wilson proceeds up the Shire — Continua- 
tion of story of the Bishop's Mission — He descends the Shire in a small 
canoe — Loses clothing, medicine, &c. — Fever — ■ Death and burial — His 
character — Kindness of Makololo — Death of Mr. Burrup — Captain Wilson 
returns to Shupanga — The Rev. James Stewart examines the country pre- 
vious to attempting a Mission by the Free Church of Scotland — Portuguese 
policy and slave-trading are the chief obstacles to any Mission — Personal 
responsibility ignored and blame put on others — Mrs. Livingstones illness, 
and death 27th April, 1862. 

We reached the ship on the 8th of November, 1861, in a 
very weak condition, having suffered more from hunger than 
on any previous trip. Heavy rains commenced on the 9th, 
and continued several days ; the river rose rapidly, and 
became highly discoloured. Bishop Mackenzie came down to 
the ship on the 14th, with some of the Pioneer's men, who 
had been at Magomero for the benefit of their health, and 
also for the purpose of assisting the Mission. The Bishop 
appeared to be in excellent spirits, and thought that the 
future promised fair for peace and usefulness. The Ajawa 
having been defeated and driven off while we were on the 
Lake, had sent word that they desired to live at peace with 
the English. Many of the Manganja had settled round 
Magomero, in order to be under the protection of the Bishop ; 
and it was hoped that the slave-trade would soon cease in 
the highlands, and the people be left in the secure enjoyment 
of their industry. The Mission, it was also anticipated, might 



soon become, to a considerable degree, self-supporting, and 
raise certain kinds of food, like the Portuguese of Senna and 
Quillimane. Mr. Burrup, an energetic young man, had 
arrived at Chibisa's the day before the Bishop, having 
come up the Shire in a canoe. A surgeon and a lay brother 
followed behind in another canoe. The Pioneer's draught 
being too much for the upper part of the Shire, it was not 
deemed advisable to bring her up, on the next trip, further 
than the Euo ; the Bishop, therefore, resolved to explore the 
country from Magomero to the mouth of that river, and to 
meet the ship with his sisters and Mrs. Burrup, in January. 
This was arranged before parting, and then the good Bishop 
and Burrup, whom we were never to meet again, left us; 
they gave and received three hearty English cheers as they 
went to the shore, and we steamed off. 

The rains ceased on the 14th, and the waters of the Shire 
fell, even more rapidly than they had risen. A shoal, twenty 
miles below Chibisa's, checked our further progress, and we 
lay there five weary weeks, till the permanent rise of the river 
took place. During this detention, with a large marsh on 
each side, the first death occurred in the Expedition which 
had now been three-and-a-half years in the country. The 
carpenter's mate, a fine, healthy young man, was seized with 
fever. The usual remedies had no effect ; he died suddenly 
while we were at evening prayers, and was buried on shore. 
He came out in the Pioneer, and. with the exception of 
a slight touch of fever at the mouth of the Kovuina, had 
enjoyed perfect health all the time he had been with us. 
The Portuguese are of opinion that the European who has im- 
munity from this disease for any length of time after he 
enters the country is more likely to be cut off by it when it 
does come, than the man who has it frequently at first. 

The rains became pretty general towards the close of Decem- 

2 D 



Chap. XX. 

ber, and the Shire was in flood in the beginning of January, 
1862. At our wooding-place, a mile above the Kuo, the 
water was three feet higher than it was when we were here 
in J une ; and on the night of the 6th it rose eighteen inches 
more, and swept down an immense amount of brushwood 
and logs which swarmed with beetles, and the two kinds of 
shells which are common all over the African continent. 
Natives in canoes were busy spearing fish in the meadows 
and creeks, and appeared to be taking them in great numbers. 
Spur-winged geese, and others of the knob-nosed species, 
took advantage of the low gardens being flooded, and came 
to pilfer the beans. As we passed the Euo, on the 7 th, and 
saw nothing of the Bishop, we concluded that he had heard 
from his surgeon of our detention, and had deferred his 
journey. He arrived there five days after, on the 12th. 

We heard at Mboma's village, that the notorious rebel- 
robber and murderer, Mariano, had been allowed to return 
from Mosanibique, and was at his old trade again, of kidnap- 
ping the Manganja, and selling them to the people of Quilli- 
mane as slaves. He had already desolated a large portion 
of the right bank, and the people of this village were living in 
constant dread of a visit from his armed marauders. On 
coming to the Zambesi, we found that the Portuguese had 
lately made a station on an island opposite the mouth of 
the Shire. Captain Alvez, — Mozinga, or Big Gun, as the 
natives called him, — was the officer in command, and came on 
board after we dropped anchor. The Governor had desired 
him to assure us that the occupation of the island was only 
temporary, and solely in consequence of Mariano's escape 
and rebellion. 

It appears that this half-caste rebel, notwithstanding all 
his notorious robberies and murders, and his actual rebellion 
and war, had been tried at Mosanibique, and had been let off 

Chap. XX. 



with the mild sentence of imprisonment for three years, and 
a fine. Not having money enough with him to pay the fine, 
the Mosambique authorities considerately allowed him to go 
back to Quillimane, to collect some debts which he asserted 
were due to him ; but, when he got there, it was found that 
his debts were due somewhere up the country. His Quilli- 
mane creditors, however, most feelingly petitioned the Govern- 
ment to allow Mariano to go thither, in order to obtain ivory 
to pay both debts and fine. Permission was graciously given, 
and he was also allowed to take several hundreds of muskets 
and much ammunition ; but, instead of collecting ivory, he 
returned to his own people up the Shire, and betook himself 
at once to his former course of robbery, murder, and kidnap- 
ping, and set the Portuguese authority at defiance. The 
Governor of Quillimane then declared war against his old 
enemy, and with all his available soldiers and slaves in a 
fleet of boats and canoes, sailed up the Shire to capture the 
rebel, but could not find him — so sailed down again. The 
whole thing had the appearance — to the uncharitable, who 
knew that nothing could be done in a district, without the 
knowledge of the Governor — of Mariano's having been 
allowed to run away with a large assortment of arms and 
ammunition, out of a small hamlet, where every one, by 
means of his slaves, knows the affairs of every one else. It 
is true the Governor ran after him, but at the pace one does 
after a child in play — and, of course, could not catch him. A 
captain was afterwards sent across the country with a force, 
and was more fortunate than the Governor, for he reached 
Mariano. Unluckily, however, instead of capturing the rebel, 
the rebel captured him, in a night attack it was said, with 
all his ammunition and a number of his men. The captain, 
according to the account of his brother officers, was allowed 
to depart, after receiving a present of ivory. To us, this was 

2 d 2 



Chap. XX. 

incredible, but it is mentioned, to show the way that these 
men, who have been convicts, speak of each other. 

Captain Alvez was suffering from fever, and had been, ever 
since he came to this low marshy place. The island would be 
under water, he said, if the river rose two feet higher, which 
it was extremely likely to do. The lonely life of a solitary 
officer, living with a number of debased black soldiers, on such 
a spot as this, is something frightful to think of. It is next 
door to imprisonment, if not to solitary confinement ; and this 
was the lot of a brave artillery officer, who was sent here for 
some political offence, and who had done all the hard fight- 
ing with the rebels for a number of years back. While he, 
who crushed out the rebellion, was living thus, Mariano, the 
rebel, was reported for the last three years, to have been 
living sumptuously in the capital of the province ; and even 
dining at the tables of the highest in the land. Seeing that 
this sentence of imprisonment at Mosambique was carried out 
so mildly as not to amount to confinement at all, it is not to 
be wondered at that men's tongues should speak hard things 
against the Governor-General, and that, though, of course, it 
cannot be actually known, bribery should be openly declared 
to have taken place. We know nothing more than the pro- 
bability and general report, which may be false. We never 
met Mozinga again ; he succumbed in a few months to 

After paying our Senna men, as they wished to go home, we 
landed them here. All were keen traders, and had invested 
largely in native iron-hoes, axes, and ornaments. Many of 
the hoes and spears had been taken from the slaving parties 
whose captives we liberated ; for on these occasions our Senna 
friends were always uncommonly zealous and active. The 
remainder had been purchased with the old clothes we had 
given them, and their store of hippopotamus meat : they 

Chap. XX. 



had no fears of losing them, or of being punished for aiding 
us. The system, in which they had been trained, had eradi- 
cated the idea of personal responsibility from their minds. 
The Portuguese slaveholders would blame the English, alone, 
they said ; they were our servants at the time. No white 
man on board could purchase so cheaply as these men could. 
Many a time had their eloquence persuaded a native trader 
to sell for a bit of dirty worn cloth things for which he had, 
but a little before, refused twice the amount of clean new 
calico. " Scissors " being troubled with a cough at night, re- 
ceived a present of a quilted coverlet, which had seen a good 
deal of service. A few days afterwards, a good chance of 
investing in hoes offering itself, he ripped off both sides, tore 
them into a dozen pieces, and purchased about a dozen hoes 
with them. 

We entered the Zambesi on the 11th of January, and 
steamed down towards the coast, taking the side on which 
we had come up ; but the channel had changed to the other 
side during the summer, as it sometimes does, and we soon 
grounded. A Portuguese gentleman, formerly a lieutenant 
in the army, and now living on Sangwisa, one of the 
islands of the Zambesi, came over with his slaves, to aid us 
in getting the ship off. He said frankly, that his people 
were all great thieves, and we must be on our guard not to 
leave anything about. He next made a short speech to his 
men, told them he knew what thieves they were, but im- 
plored them not to steal from us, as we would give them a 
present of cloth when the work was done. " The natives of 
this country," he remarked to us, "think only of three 
things, what they shall eat and drink, how many wives they 
can have, and what they may steal from their master, if not 
how they may murder him." He always slept with a loaded 
musket by his side. This opinion may apply to slaves, but 



Chap. XX. 

decidedly does not in our experience apply to freemen. We 
paid his men for helping us, and believe that even they, 
being paid, stole nothing from us. Our friend farms pretty 
extensively the large island called Sangwisa, — lent him for 
nothing by Senhor Ferrao, — and raises large quantities of 
mapira and beans, and also beautiful white rice, grown 
from seed brought a few years ago from South Carolina. 
He furnished us with some, which was very acceptable ; for, 
though not in absolute want, we were living on beans, salt 
pork, and fowls, all the biscuit and flour on board having 
been expended. 

We fully expected that the owners of the captives we had 
liberated would show their displeasure, at least by their 
tongues; but they seemed ashamed; only one ventured a 
remark, and he, in the course of common conversation, said, 
with a smile, " You took the Governor's slaves, didn't you ? " 
" Yes, we did free several gangs that we met in the Manganja 
country." The Portuguese of Tette, from the Governor down- 
wards, were extensively engaged in slaving. The trade is 
partly internal and partly external : they send some of the 
captives, and those bought, into the interior, up the Zambesi ; 
some of these we actually met on their way up the river. 
The young women were sold there for ivory : an ordinary- 
looking one brought two arrobas, sixty-four pounds weight, 
and an extra beauty brought twice that amount. The men 
and boys were kept as carriers, to take the ivory down from 
the interior to Tette, or were retained on farms on the 
Zambesi, ready for export if a slaver should call: of this 
last mode of slaving we were witnesses also. The slaves 
were sent down the river chained, and in large canoes. 
This went on openly at Tette, and more especially so while 
the French " Free Emigration " system was in full operation. 
This double mode of disposing of the captives pays better 


than the single system of sending them down to the Coast 
for exportation. One merchant at Tette, with whom we were 
well acquainted, sent into the interior three hundred Man- 
ganja women to be sold for ivory, and another sent a 
hundred and fifty. The process by which the Island of 
Bourbon was supplied with slaves was carried on with even 
greater effrontery than the Manganja raids. The Commandant 
at Tette, having found that a cargo of slaves had been 
taken down the river by a woman of bad character, for form's 
sake sent an officer after her. He followed, overtook her, 
but returned without her. When spoken to on the subject, 
the Commandant said, with an air of triumph, " The English 
cannot now interfere, while we have the French flag to pro- 
tect us." And this flag did protect slaving till May, 1864. 
Of all the benefits which the reign of Napoleon III. has 
conferred on his kind, none does more credit to his wisdom 
and humanity than his having stopped this wretched system. 
As much was done as lay in his power, in the way of 
regulating the system of abstraction of labour from Africa, 
by the appointment of officers to prevent abuses in its work- 
ing; but, in spite of every precaution, the "engagee system" 
became neither more nor less than the abominable slave- 
trade in all its horrors, not so much by French agency, as 
by that of Portuguese and half-castes. Until the people 
are enlightened, every attempt of the kind must always 
promote the slave-trade and nothing else. 

We anchored on the Great Luabo mouth of the Zambesi, 
because wood was much more easily obtained there than 
at the Kongone. On the 30th, H. M. S. Gorgon arrived, 
towing the brig which brought Mrs. Livingstone, some ladies 
about to join their relatives in the Universities' Mission, and 
the twenty-four sections of a new iron steamer intended for 
the navigation of Lake Nyassa. The Pioneer steamed out, 



Chap. XX. 

and towed the brig into the Kongone harbour. The new 
steamer was called the Lady of the Lake, or the Lady 
Nyassa, and as much as could be carried of her in one 
trip was placed, by the help of the officers and men of the 
Gorgon, on board the Pioneer, and the two large paddle-box 
boats of H.M.'s ship. We steamed off for the Euo on the 
10th of February, having on board Captain Wilson, with a 
number of his officers and men to help us to discharge the 
cargo. Our progress up was distressingly slow. The river was 
in flood, and we had a three-knot current against us in many 
places. The engines of the Pioneer were of the best quality, 
but had been entirely neglected by the engineer — the pack- 
ing not having been renewed during twenty months. These 
causes delayed us six months in the delta, instead of, as we 
anticipated, only six days ; for, finding it impossible to carry 
the sections up to the Euo without great loss of time, it was 
thought best to land them at Shupanga, and, putting the 
hull of the Lady Nyassa together there, to tow her up to the 
foot of the Murchison Cataracts. 

A few days before the Pioneer reached Shupanga, Captain 
Wilson, seeing the hopeless state of our engines, generously 
resolved to hasten with the Mission ladies up to those who, 
we thought, were anxiously awaiting their arrival, and there- 
fore started in his gig for the Kuo, taking Miss Mackenzie, 
Mrs. Burrup, and his surgeon, Dr. Kamsay. They were 
accompanied by Dr. Kirk and Mr. Sewell, paymaster of the 
Gorgon, in the whale-boat of the Lady Nyassa. As our slow- 
paced-launch, Ma-Kobert, had formerly gone up to the foot of 
the cataracts in nine days steaming, it was supposed that the 
boats might easily reach the expected meeting-place at the 
Ruo in a week ; but the Shire was now in flood, and in its 
most rapid state ; and they were longer in getting up about 
half the distance, than it was hoped they would be in the 

Chap. XX. 



whole navigable part of the river. They could hear nothing 
of the Bishop from the Chief of the island, Malo, at the mouth 
of the Euo. " No white man had ever come to his village," 
he said. They proceeded on to Chibisa's, suffering terribly 
from mosquitoes at night. Their toil in stemming the rapid 
current made them estimate the distance, by the windings, as 
nearer 300 than 200 miles. The Makololo who had remained 
at Chibisa's told them the sad news of the death of the good 
Bishop and of Mr. Burrup. Other information received there 
awakened fresh anxiety on behalf of the survivors ; so, leaving 
the ladies with Dr. Kamsay and the Makololo, Captain Wilson 
and Dr. Kirk went up the hills, in hopes of being able to 
render assistance, and on the way they met some of the Mis- 
sion party at Soche's. The excessive fatigue that our friends 
had undergone in the voyage up to Chibisa's in no wise 
deterred them from this further attempt for the benefit of 
their countrymen, but the fresh labour, with diminished 
rations, was too much for their strength. They were reduced 
to a diet of native beans and an occasional fowl. Both 
became very ill of fever, Captain Wilson so dangerously that 
his fellow-sufferer lost all hopes of his recovery. His strong 
able-bodied cockswain did good service in cheerfully carrying 
his much-loved Commander, and they managed to return 
to the boat, and brought the two bereaved and sorrow- 
stricken ladies back to the Pioneer. 

We learnt that the Bishop, wishhig to find a shorter route 
down to the Shire, had sent two men to explore the country 
between Magomero and the junction of the Euo ; and in De- 
cember Messrs. Proctor and Scudamore, with a number of 
Manganja carriers, left Magomero for the same purpose. They 
were to go close to Mount Choro, and then skirt the Elephant 
Marsh, with Mount Clarendon on their left. Their guides 
seem to have led them away to the east, instead of south ; 



Chap. XX. 

to the Upper waters of the Buo in the Shirwa valley, instead 
of to its mouth. Entering an Anguro slave-trading village, 
they soon began to suspect that the people meant mischief, 
and just before sunset a woman told some of their men that 
if they slept there they would all be killed. On their pre- 
paring to leave, the Anguro followed them and shot their 
arrows at the retreating party. Two of the carriers were 
captured, and all the goods were taken by these robbers. 
An arrow-head struck deep into the stock of Proctor's gun ; 
and the two Missionaries, barely escaping with their lives, 
swam a deep river at night, and returned to Magomero 
famished and exhausted. 

The wives of the captive carriers came to the Bishop day 
after day weeping and imploring him to rescue their husbands 
from slavery. The men had been caught while in his service, 
no one else could be entreated ; there was no public law nor 
any power superior to his own, to which an appeal could be 
made ; for in him Church and State were, in the disorganized 
state of the country, virtually united. It seemed to him to be 
clearly his duty to try and rescue these kidnapped members 
of the Mission family. He accordingly invited the veteran 
Makololo to go with him on this somewhat hazardous errand. 
Nothing could have been proposed to them which they would 
have liked better, and they went with alacrity to eat the sheep 
of the Anguro, only regretting that the enemy did not keep 
cattle as well. Had the matter been left entirely in their 
hands, they would have made a clean sweep of that part of 
the country ; but the Bishop restrained them, and went in an 
open manner, thus commending the measure to all the natives, 
as one of justice. This deliberation, however, gave the delin- 
quents a chance of escape.* 

* On the way the Bishop is said to 
have had an opportunity of correcting 

a slight geographical mistake made 
by Dr. Livingstone when Lake Shirwa 



The Missionaries were successful; the offending village 
was burned, and a few sheep and goats were secured, 
which could not be considered other than a very mild 
punishment for the offence committed ; the headman, 
Muana-somba, afraid to retain the prisoners any longer, 
forthwith liberated them, and they returned to their homes. 
This incident took place at the time we were at the Kuo and 
during the rains, and proved very trying to the health 
of the Missionaries ; they were frequently wetted, and had 
hardly any food but roasted maize. Mr. Scudamore was 
never well afterwards. Directly on their return to Magomero, 
the Bishop and Mr. Burrup, both suffering from diarrhoea 
in consequence of wet, hunger, and exposure, started for 
Chibisa's to go down to the Buo by the Shire. So fully 
did the Bishop expect a renewal of the soaking wet from 
which he had just returned, that on leaving Magomero he 
walked through the stream. The rivulets were so swollen 
that it took five days to do a journey that would otherwise 
have occupied only two days and a half. 

None of the Manganja being willing to take them down 
the river during the flood, three Makololo canoe-men agreed 
to go with them. After paddling till near sunset, they de- 
cided to stop and sleep on shore ; but the mosquitoes were 
so numerous that they insisted on going on again; the 
Bishop, being a week behind the time he had engaged to 
be at the Buo, reluctantly consented, and in the darkness 
the canoe was upset in one of the strong eddies or whirl- 
pools, which suddenly boil up in flood time near the out- 
going branches of the river; clothing, medicines, tea, coffee, 
and sugar were all lost. Wet and weary, and tormented by 

was discovered. A white vapour, at 
that time resting on the rich valley at 
the southern end of the lake, had led 

to the inference that the lake stretched 
a little further south than it actually 



Chap. XX. 

mosquitoes, they lay in the canoe till morning dawned, and 
then proceeded to Malo, an island at the mouth of the Kuo, 
where the Bishop was at once seized with fever. 

Had they been in their usual health, they would doubt- 
less have pushed on to Shupanga, or to the ship ; but fever 
rapidly prostrates the energies, and induces a drowsy stupor, 
from which, if not roused by medicine, the patient gradually 
sinks into the sleep of death. Still mindful, however, of 
his office, the Bishop consoled himself by thinking, that he 
might gain the friendship of the Chief, which would be of 
essential service to him in his future labours. That heartless 
man, however, probably suspicious of all foreigners from the 
knowledge he had acquired of white slave-traders, wanted to 
turn the dying Bishop out of the hut, as he required it for 
his corn, but yielded to the expostulations of the Makololo. 
Day after day for three weeks did these faithful fellows 
remain beside his mat on the floor ; till, without medicine 
or even proper food, he died. They dug his grave on the 
edge of the deep dark forest where the natives buried their 
dead. Mr. Burrup, himself far gone with dysentery, staggered 
from the hut, and, as in the dusk of evening they committed 
the Bishop's body to the grave, repeated from memory por- 
tions of our beautiful service for the Burial of the Dead — 
"earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and 
certain hope of the resurrection of the dead through our 
Lord Jesus Christ." And in this sad way ended the earthly 
career of one, of whom it can safely be said that for un- 
selfish goodness of heart, and earnest devotion to the noble 
work he had undertaken, none of the commendations of his 
friends can exceed the reality. The grave in which his body 
rests is about a hundred yards from the confluence of the Kuo, 
on the left bank of the Shire, and opposite the island of Malo. 
The Makololo then took Mr. Burrup up in the canoe as far 



as they could, and, making a litter of branches, carried him 
themselves, or got others to carry him, all the way back to 
his countrymen at Magomero. They hurried him on lest he 
should die in their hands, and blame be attached to them. 
Soon after his return he expired, from the disease which was 
on him when he started to meet his wife. 

Captain Wilson arrived at Shupanga on the 11th of 
March, having been three weeks on, the Shire. On the 15th 
the Pioneer steamed down to the Kongone. The Gorgon had 
been driven out to sea in a gale, and had gone to Johanna for 
provisions, and it was the 2nd of April before she returned. 
It was fortunate for us that she had obtained a supply, as our 
provisions were exhausted, and we had to buy some from the 
master of the brig. The Gorgon left for the Cape on the 4th, 
taking all, except one, of the Mission party who had come in 
January. We take this opportunity of expressing our heart- 
felt gratitude to the gallant Captain Wilson and his officers 
for innumerable acts of kindness and hearty co-operation. Our 
warmest thanks are also due to Captain R. B. Oldfield and 
the other officers from the Admiral downwards, and we beg 
to assure them that nothing could be more encouraging to us 
in our difficulties and trials, than the knowledge that we 
possessed their friendship and sympathy in our labours. 

The Rev. James Stewart, of the Free Church of Scot- 
land, arrived in the Gorgon. He had wisely come out to 
inspect the country, before deciding on the formation of a 
Mission in the interior. To this object he devoted many 
months of earnest labour. This Mission was intended to 
embrace both the industrial and the religious element ; and, 
as the route by the Zambesi and Shire forms the only one at 
present known, with but a couple of days' land journey to 
the highlands, which stretch to an unknown distance into the 
continent, and as no jealousy was likely to be excited in the 



Chap. XX. 

mind of a man of Bishop Mackenzie's enlarged views — there 
being moreover room for hundreds of Missions — we gladly 
extended the little aid in our power to an envoy from the 
energetic and most respectable body above mentioned, but 
recommended him to examine the field with his own eyes. 

During our subsequent detention at Shupanga, he pro- 
ceeded as far up the Shire as the Upper Cataracts, and saw 
the mere remnants of that dense population, which we at 
first had found living in peace and plenty, but which was 
now scattered and destroyed by famine and slave-hunting. 
The land, which both before and after we found so fair and 
fruitful, was burned up by a severe drought ; in fact, it was 
at its very worst. With most praiseworthy energy, and in 
spite of occasional attacks of fever, he then ascended the 
Zambesi as far as Kebrabasa ; and, what may be of interest 
to some, compared it, in parts, to the Danube. His estimate 
of the highlands would naturally be lower than ours. The 
main drawbacks in his opinion, however, were the slave-trade, 
and the power allowed the effete Portuguese of shutting up 
the country from all except a few convicts of their own 
nation. The time of his coming was inopportune; the dis- 
asters, which from inexperience had befallen the Mission of 
the Universities, had a depressing effect on the minds of many 
at home, and rendered a new attempt unaclvisable ; though, 
had the Scotch perseverance and energy been introduced, it 
is highly probable that they would have reacted, most bene- 
ficially, on the zeal of our English brethren, and desertion 
would never have been heard of. After examining the 
country, Mr. Stewart descended the Zambesi in the beginning 
of the following year, and proceeded homewards with his 
report, by Mosarubique and the Cape. 

On the 7th of April we had only one man fit for duty ; all the 
rest were down with fever, or with the vile spirit secretly sold 

Chap. XX. 



to them by the Portuguese officer of customs, in spite of our 
earnest request to him to refrain from the pernicious traffic. 

We started on the 11th for Shupanga with another load of 
the Lady Nyassa. As we steamed up the Delta, we observed 
many of the natives wearing strips of palm-leaf, the signs of 
sickness and mourning ; for they too suffer from fever. 
This is the unhealthy season; the rains are over, and the 
hot sun draws up malaria from the decayed vegetation; 
disease seemed peculiarly severe this year. On our way 
up we met Mr. Waller, who had come from Magomero 
for provisions ; the missionaries were suffering severely from 
want of food ; the liberated people were starving, and dying 
of diarrhoea, and loathsome sores. The Ajawa, stimulated in 
their slave raids by supplies of ammunition and cloth from 
the Portuguese, had destroyed the large crops of the past 
year ; a drought had followed, and little or no food could be 
bought. With his usual energy, Mr. Waller hired canoes, 
loaded them with stores, and took them up the long weary 
way to Chibisa's. Before he arrived he was informed that 
the Mission of the Universities, now deprived of its brave 
leader, had fled from the highlands down to the Low Shire 
Valley. This appeared to us, who knew the danger of leading 
a sedentary life, the greatest mistake they could have made, 
and was the result of no other counsel or responsibility than 
their own. Waller would have reascended at once to the 
higher altitude, but various objections stood in the way. 
The loss of poor Scudamore and Dickinson, in this low-lying 
situation, but added to the regret that the highlands had 
not received a fair trial. 

When the news of the Bishop's unfortunate collisions with 
the natives, and of his untimely end, reached England, 
much blame was imputed to him. The policy, which with 
the formal sanction of all his companions he had adopted, 



being directly contrary to the advice which Dr. Livingstone 
tendered, and to the assurances of the peaceable nature of 
the Mission which the Doctor had given to the natives, 
a friendly disapproval of a bishop's engaging in war was 
ventured on, when we met him at Chibisa's in November. 
But when we found his conduct regarded with so much 
bitterness in England, whether from a disposition to " stand 
by the down man," or from having an intimate knowledge 
of the peculiar circumstances of the country in which he 
was placed, or from the thorough confidence which intimacy 
caused us to repose in his genuine piety, and devout service 
of God, we came to think much more leniently of his pro- 
ceedings, than his assailants did. He never seemed to doubt 
but that he had done his duty; and throughout he had 
always been supported by his associates. One of them 
subsequently, and in a weak moment, ignoring personal 
responsibility, rested all the blame on Dr. Livingstone ; and 
the gentleman who was designated as the Bishop's successor, 
declared in public meetings at Cambridge and elsewhere, in 
spite of the proof to the contrary in Bishop Mackenzie's own 
journal, " that the warlike measures of the Mission were the 
consequences of following Dr. Livingstone's advice." The 
question whether a Bishop, in the event of his flock being 
torn from his bosom, may make war to rescue them, requires 
serious consideration. It seems to narrow itself into whether 
a Christian man may lawfully use the civil power or the 
sword at all in defensive war, as police, or otherwise. We 
would do almost anything to avoid a collision with degraded 
natives; but in case of an invasion — our blood boils at the 
very thought of our wives, daughters, or sisters being touched 
— we, as men with human feelings, would unhesitatingly 
fight to the death, with all the fury in our power. 

The good Bishop was as intensely averse to using arms, 

Chap. XX. 



before lie met the slave-hunters, as any man in England. 
In the course he pursued he may have made a mistake, 
but it is a mistake which very few Englishmen on meeting 
bands of helpless captives, or members of his family in bonds, 
would have failed to commit likewise. 

During unhealthy April, the fever was more severe in 
Shupanga and Mazaro than usual. We had several cases 
on board — they were quickly cured, but, from our being in 
the Delta, as quickly returned. About the middle of the 
month Mrs. Livingstone was prostrated by this disease ; and 
it was accompanied by obstinate vomiting. Nothing is yet 
known that can allay this distressing symptom, which of 
course renders medicine of no avail, as it is instantly rejected. 
She received whatever medical aid could be rendered from 
Dr. Kirk, but became unconscious, and her eyes were closed 
in the sleep of death as the sun set on the evening of 
the Christian Sabbath, the 27th April, 1862. A coffin was 
made during the night, a grave was dug next day under 
the branches of the great Baobab-tree, and with sym- 
pathizing hearts the little band of his countrymen 
assisted the bereaved husband in burying his dead. At 
his request, the Rev. James Stewart read the burial-service ; 
and the seamen kindly volunteered to mount guard for 
some nights at the spot where her body rests in hope. Those 
who are not aware how this brave, good, English wife made 
a delightful home at Kolobeng, a thousand miles inland from 
the Cape, and as the daughter of Moffat and a Christian lady 
exercised most beneficial influence over the rude tribes of the 
interior, may wonder that she should have braved the 
dangers and toils of this down-trodclen land. She knew 
them all, and, in the disinterested and dutiful attempt to 
renew her labours, was called to her rest instead. " Fiat, 
Domine, voluntas tua ! " 

2 E 



Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone proceed to Tette — Belchior's wars — 
Governor Almeida's praiseworthy interdict — Connivance of the Governor- 
General at the slave-trade — Masters and slaves — No love lost — Launch 
of the Lady Nyassa — Native speculations on buoyancy of iron — Free- 
dom of discussion on certain subjects — Birds at play — Our new quarter- 
master — Start of the Lady Nyassa deferred — Portuguese "prohibitive" 
permission for trading — Up the Kovuma in boats — Inhabitants — Mats — 
Tsetse — Zigzag channel — A queer fish — Canoe rivalry — The Englishman 
in Africa — An old lady opens the market — Men with pelele — Mabiha — 
Makoa — Slave route to Kilwa — Life on a sandbank — Unprovoked hostility 
— Hives and honey — Coal found — A jolly young waterwoman — Our pro- 
gress stopped by rocky narrows — Sources of Rovuma — Crocodiles — Their 
eggs ■ — Hunting the Senze — Back again to the Pioneer. 

On the 5tli of May Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone started 
in the boat for Tette, in order to see the property of the 
Expedition brought down in canoes. They took four Mazaro 
canoe-men to manage the boat, and a white sailor to cook for 
them ; but, unfortunately, he caught fever the very day after 
leaving the ship, and was ill most of the trip ; so they had to 
cook for themselves, and to take care of him besides. The 
natives behaved remarkably well, and were very cleanly in 
their habits, bathing every day after sunset, although the 
weather was rather chilly. If a little food was given to one, 
according almost to universal custom he shared it with the 
others, although often there was not more than a mouthful 
for each. They preferred punting to paddling, and chose, in 
going up the river, the parts that had from two to four 
feet of water, instead of the deep channel where the current 
is strong. They kept admirable time with their poles, raising 
them, bringing them down, pushing, and giving the final 

Chap. XXI. 



shove all at the same instant. The helm had hardly to 
be touched at all, so well did they keep the boat on her 
course. Many of their canoe songs are very fine ; some are 
peculiarly plaintive, like the one which appears to be a 
lament over a dying Chief. There being but little wind 
during the first day, the sail could not be used ; but towards 
sunset a pleasant breeze sprang up and sail was set. 
The canoe-men were of course much pleased to see the boat 
moving on without their exertions. The Makololo of our first 
party always maintained that a sailing-boat was the perfection 
of navigation — it was vastly superior to a steamer, because no 
wood had to be cut — and you had merely to sit still, and let 
the wind drive you along. After dark the wind increased, 
the boat swept swiftly through the water; the men, who 
are of an excitable temperament, felt the influence, and 
began an extemporary and very energetic song. As the 
breeze freshened, the boat dashed through the waves ; 
then, wild with excitement the men sprang to their feet, and 
sang still louder, gesticulating with might and main. Sud- 
denly the career of song ceased — the singers were sprawling 
on their backs — the boat was on a sandbank. 

On an island opposite Shiramba the party found a large 
number of fugitive Manganja, who had fled from the war on 
the mainland. A man banished from Portugal, called Bel- 
chior, who had married a sister of the half-caste Chief below 
Tette, and had settled near Lupata, was encamped on an 
island in Shigogo. They were challenged as they sailed past 
it after dark. The fife and drums called to arms. "The 
English ! the English ! " our men answered, and no molesta- 
tion ensued. Chibisa, he told them, had sent an insulting 
message to him, so he attacked him, and, with seventy men 
armed with muskets, drove him from his principal village 
near the Zambesi, and burned it. Even private persons 

2 t. 2 



imitate military manners, and make what they call war and 
peace, as if no other authority existed. At a subsequent 
period this adventurer forced Chibisa to flee to the new 
Mission-station opposite Dakanamoio island, and threatened 
to follow him thither. To prevent this Dr. Livingstone ap- 
plied to the Governor of Tette, Antonio Tavares d' Almeida, 
and we have much pleasure in stating that his Excellency 
had already laid an injunction on Belchior, not to proceed 
with his intended foray. This very creditable order had 
preceded the application. 

Dr. Kirk and Charles Livingstone arrived at Tette on the 
17th, and found its wonted dull monotony agreeably broken 
by the marriage of the Governor's daughter to one of the 
officers. The slaves were celebrating the joyful event in 
the usual way, by drinking, drumming, dancing, singing, and 
firing off muskets. Our companions were hospitably received 
by the Governor, which was more than they had reason to 
expect, after having so recently freed his slave-gangs in the 
Manganja country. His Excellency alluded to the subject 
one evening, remarking to Dr. Kirk that he had received 
from his brother, the Governor-General, a despatch, saying 
that as the slave-trade was legal under Portuguese law, 
if any slave-party, out of the Portuguese territory, was at- 
tacked, they were to resist force by force; in plain words, 
they were to fight the next time we attempted to rescue the 
kidnapped Manganja. This is mentioned not that it is in 
any way remarkable for a representative of the Portuguese 
Crown to connive at slaving, but because the Governor-General 
Almeida, by speaking English and professing to have an 
intense desire to suppress the slave-trade, gained a character 
for uprightness among the officers of H.M. cruisers, which 
none of his countrymen would for a moment endorse. On 
finding afterwards that his less powerful brother at Tette 


had unwittingly revealed to us the real sentiments of the 
big brother at Mosambique, his Excellency could not conceal 
a little, perhaps excusable, chagrin, though he must have 
known, that, living behind the scenes, we had never been 
misled by his English palavers, and that we should have 
rejoiced, had it been possible to have held him in higher 
esteem. Some of the slaves, captured by his brother's agents, 
are sent inland for ivory, and others kept on farms, whence 
he and every one else know they will be shipped by means 
of large canoes whenever an opportunity occurs. This inland 
slave-trade feeds the foreign one ; and, if Portuguese legisla- 
tion has any meaning, the whole thing is forbidden. If, as the 
laws profess, they wish to get rid of slavery, no more slaves 
can be made, unless the laws be only enacted to please the 
English, and gratify the self-esteem of the legislators. 

The Portuguese Government is really famous for 
passing good laws in Lisbon, and no less for allowing 
those respecting slavery to remain a dead letter. It has 
been decreed that slavery is to be abolished in this province 
in 1878, and the Government slaves to be free in the year 
1864. An officer told us that they were working the Govern- 
ment slaves tremendously, making streets and tiles, in order 
to get all the work they could out of them before they 
were set free. 

Tette is very much improved since the present Governor 
came into office. Two good roads or streets have been made, 
which is something new for this country. The Governor him- 
self is nearly walked off his feet looking after them. There are 
some hundreds of black soldiers in the town, who are very 
much better clothed, than a tithe of the number used to be in 
former years. We were told, on what seemed good authority, 
that Tette now costs the Home Government 3000?. a year, 
and yields an annual revenue of 3001 The ivory-trade has 



Chap. XXI. 

declinjed very materially, from the elephants being nearly all 
killed, or driven off from the part of the country formerly 

The canoes hired at Mazaro for the return voyage were at 
Tette when we arrived. They had brought up stores for the 
Portuguese Government, and had been accompanied by an 
officer who had a number of the men flogged, though they 
were freemen, because he said they were lazy, and lost 
time in coming up. The backs of the poor fellows were badly 
cut. Public law exists in theory ; in practice punishment is 
often inflicted at the caprice of individuals. On one occa- 
sion we sent a couple of the Shupanga thieves, caught with 
the booty on them, to the nearest official; we received a 
note next day asking what punishment was to be inflicted ; 
we preferred letting the criminals go free to giving a sen- 
tence. Between men of equal standing, a threat is often 
made of using the musket, by the name of the " minister 
of justice." The canoe-men receive their pay and food 
for the trip before starting. When the canoes are heavily 
laden, and the water low, they often eat up all their food 
before they reach Tette, and have none left for the return 
passage, unless they purchase more with their wages. This 
was the case with our men. Food was cheap, and, wishing 
to make them strong for their work, we gave them con- 
siderably more than they were accustomed to receive, 
with a pig and a goat besides, and they worked remarkably 
well. Starting, of their own accord, at the first dawn of day, 
and keeping on till dusk, they resolutely kept up with the 
boat, aud reached Shupanga in four days and three-quarters. 
The merchants complain much of the dishonesty of the canoe- 
men, and sometimes they actually do make off with a whole 
cargo of cloth, and no punishment can reach them. One thing 
is certain, there is no love lost between these parties. 

Chap. XXI. 



We now proceeded with preparations for the launch of the 
Lady Nyassa. Ground was levelled on the bank at Shupanga, 
for the purpose of arranging the compartments in order : she 
was placed on palm-trees which were brought from a place 
lower down the river for ways, and the engineer and his 
assistants were soon busily engaged ; about a fortnight after 
they were all brought from Kongone, the sections were 
screwed together. The blacks are more addicted to stealing 
where slavery exists than elsewhere. We were annoyed by 
thieves who carried off the iron screw-bolts, but were gratified 
to find that strychnine saved us from the man-thief as well 
as the hyena-thief. A hyena was killed by it, and after the 
natives saw the dead animal and knew how we had de- 
stroyed it, they concluded that it was not safe to steal from 
men who possessed a medicine so powerful. The half-caste, 
who kept Shupanga-house, said he wished to have some to 
give to the Zulus, of whom he was mortally afraid, and to 
whom he had to pay an unwilling tribute. 

The Pioneer made several trips to the Kongone, and re- 
turned with the last load on the 12th of June. On the 23rd 
the Lady Nyassa was safely launched, the work of putting her 
together having been interrupted by fever and dysentery, and 
many other causes which it would only weary the reader to 
narrate in detail. Natives from all parts of the country came 
to see the launch, most of them quite certain that, being 
made of iron she must go to the bottom as soon as she 
entered the water. Earnest discussions had taken place 
among them with regard to the propriety of using iron for 
ship-building. The majority affirmed that it would never 
answer. They said, "If we put a hoe into the water, or 
the smallest bit of iron, it sinks immediately. How then 
can such a mass of iron float ? it must go to the bottom." 
The minority answered that this might be true with them, 



Chap. XXI. 

but white men had medicine for everything. " They could 
even make a woman, all except the speaking; look at that 
one on the figure-head of the vessel." The unbelievers were 
astonished, and could hardly believe their eyes, when they 
saw the ship float lightly and gracefully on the river, instead 
of going to the bottom, as they so confidently predicted. 
" Truly," they said, " these men have powerful medicine." 
/t)ur distinguished countryman, Professor Owen, recom- 
mended our attention to be directed to the genesis of the 
tsetse, in order to discover a means for the extirpation of 
this pest. We frequently inquired of the different tribes if 
they could help us in our inquiries ; and one of the Makololo 
remembered that this very question was once under public dis- 
cussion at Linyanti, and as usual a bet was laid that no one 
could tell. After a number of days had elapsed, an old man 
claimed the prize, asserting that the tsetse laid its eggs, which 
were of a red colour, on the leaves of the mopane-tree. These 
were probably only the eggs of an insect described in the 
' Missionary Travels ' as depositing over its eggs a sweet gum, 
which is collected and eaten. Some denied that he had seen 
them ; others affirmed that the red eggs were laid on the 
twigs of trees, and not on the leaves ; and others insisted that 
the eggs were placed in the droppings of buffaloes, and these 
last were probably in the right. The destruction of all game 
by the advance of civilization is the only chance of getting 
rid of the ts etse.^ / 

We remember to have heard a furious discussion among 
the natives on the question whether the two toes of the 
ostrich represent the thumb and forefinger in man, or the 
little and ring fingers. On these occasions it is amusing to 
observe the freedom and earnestness with which men of the 
lowest grade assault the opinions of their betters. It is not 
often that they can bring themselves into importance, and 

Chap. XXI. 



they make the most of an opportunity. "We are little 
infants ; we are still clinging to the bosoms of our mothers ; 
we cannot walk alone ; we know nothing at all ; but on this 
little subject we know that the elder gentlemen talk like all 
those who speak about that of which they know nothing. We 
never heard such nonsense," and so forth ; or two men of the 
same age may be the disputants. He who is most glib of 
tongue covers his opponent with confusion ; that, however, 
does not end the argument. Why should it ? The sensation 
of choking in his throat, the pressure of blood on his heart, 
make the vanquished, when unable to argue still, gasp out 
" Can you outrun me then ? " and off they start, run a mile, 
bring a branch of a tree at the end of the usual race-course, 
and, the mental and bodily excitement by this means equal- 
ized, they settle down in peace. If our editors, after allowing 
the paper war to rage till both the " esteemed correspond- 
ents " are ready to go into fits from the blood being lashed 
into fury round the heart and brain, instead of the usual 
atrocious way (!) of proposing the next letters to be paid for 
as advertisements, would only advise that they should " run 
a race," far fewer cases of heart disease and apoplexy would 
be traceable to the " sanctum " door. 

Birds are numerous on the Shupanga estate. Some kinds 
remain all the year round, while many others are there only 
for a few months. Flocks ol green pigeons come in April 
to feed on the young fruit of the wild fig-trees, which is 
also eaten by a large species of bat in the evenings. The 
pretty little black weaver, with yellow shoulders, appears to 
enjoy life intensely after assuming his wooing dress. A 
hearty breakfast is eaten in the morning, and then come 
the hours for making merry. A select party of three or 
four perch on the bushes which skirt a small grassy plain, 
and cheer themselves with the music of their own quiet 



Chap. XXI. 

and self-complacent song. A playful performance on the 
wing" succeeds. Expanding his soft velvet-like plumage, 
one glides with quivering pinions to the centre of the open 
space, singing as he flies, then turns with a rapid whirring sound 
from his wings — somewhat like a child's rattle — and returns 
to his place again. One by one the others perform the same 
feat, and continue the sport for hours, striving which can 
produce the loudest brattle while turning. These games are 
only played during the season of courting and of the gay 
feathers, the merriment seems never to be thought of while 
the bird wears his winter suit of sober brown. 

We received two mules from the Cape to aid us in trans- 
porting the pieces of the Lady Nyassa past the cataracts 
and landed them at Shupanga, but they soon perished. A 
Portuguese gentleman kindly informed us, after both the 
mules were dead, that he knew they would die ; for the land 
there had been often tried, and nothing would live on it — 
not even a pig. He said he had not told us so before, 
because he did not like to appear officious ! 

We obtained from the Gorgon an assistant in the shape of 
an old quartermaster; an excellent sailor, and exceedingly 
useful man when sober, but uncommonly apt to get drunk, 
when he had the chance. He would have done well, had 
we been able, as we intended, to proceed up the river 
at once ; for then he must soon have been a total abstainer ; 
but so long as we were near the Portuguese he was 
useless, and the power which impelled him must have 
been terribly strong. He knew not a word of the language, 
and the natives were equally ignorant of English ; yet 
he succeeded in getting a native to go seven miles for some 
gin, and smuggle it, mixed with native beer, into the ship. 
When sober he was quiet, respectful, obliging, quick to see what 
should be done, constantly at work, and taking particularly 

Chap. XXI. 



good care of everything. We felt sorry for the poor fellow, 
but, as we could not get up the river, we had to put him on 
board the first man-of-war we were able. Those who have 
never acquired the intense craving for stimulants that these 
men feel, can scarcely realize the force of the temptation 
they have to resist. In the words of the Scotch toper — " We 
know about the drinking, but nothing of the drouth." 

By the time everything had been placed on board the 
Lady Nyassa, the waters of the Zambesi and the Shire had 
fallen so low that it was useless to attempt taking her up 
to the cataracts before the rains in December. Draught 
oxen and provisions also were required, and could not be 
obtained nearer than the Island of J ohanna. The Portuguese, 
without refusing positively to let trade enter the Zambesi, 
threw impediments in the way; they only wanted a small 
duty ! They were about to establish a river police, and re- 
arrange the Crown lands, which have long since become 
Zulu lands; meanwhile they were making the Zambesi, by 
slaving, of no value to any one. 

The Eovuma, which was reported to come from Lake Nyassa, 
being out of their claims and a free river, we determined to 
explore it in our boats immediately on our return from 
Johanna, for which place after some delay at the Kongone, 
in repairing engines, paddle-wheel, and rudder, we sailed 
on the 6th of August. A store of naval provisions had been 
formed on a hulk in Pomone Bay of that island for the 
supply of the cruisers, and was in charge of Mr. Sunley, the 
Consul, from whom we always received the kindest attentions 
and assistance. He now obliged us by parting with six oxen, 
trained for his own use in sugar-making. Though sadly 
hampered in his undertaking by being obliged to employ slave 
labour, he has by indomitable energy overcome obstacles under 
which most persons would have sunk. He has done all that 



Chap. XXI. 

tinder the circumstances could be done to infuse a desire 
for freedom, by paying regular wages ; and has established 
a large factory, and brought 300 acres of rich soil under 
cultivation with sugar-cane. We trust he will realize the 
fortune, which he so well deserves to earn. Had Mr. 
Sunley performed the same experiment on the mainland, 
where people would have flocked to him for the wages he 
now gives, he would certainly have inaugurated a new era 
on the East Coast of Africa. On a small island where the 
slaveholders have complete power over the slaves, and 
where there is no free soil such as is everywhere met with 
in Africa, the experiment ought not to be repeated. Were 
Mr. Sunley commencing again, it should neither be in Zan- 
zibar nor Johanna, but on African soil, where, if even a slave 
is ill-treated, he can easily by flight become free. On an 
island under native rule a joint manufacture by Arabs and 
Englishmen might only mean that the latter were to escape 
the odium of flogging the slaves. 

On leaving Johanna and our oxen for a time, H.M. S. 
Orestes towed us thence to the mouth of the Kovuma at the 
beginning of September. Captain Gardner her commander, 
and several of his officers, accompanied us up the river 
for two days in the gig and cutter. The water was unusually 
low, and it was rather dull work for a few hours in the 
morning ; but the scene became livelier and more animated 
when the breeze began to blow. Our four boats then swept 
on under full sail, the men on the look-out in the gig and 
cutter calling, "Port, sir!" "Starboard, sir!" "As you go, 
sir ! " while the black men in the bows of the others shouted 
the practical equivalents, " Pagombe ! Pagombe ! " " Enda 
quete!" "Berane! Berane!" Presently the leading-boat 
touches on a sandbank ; down comes the fluttering sail ; 
the men jump out to shove her off, and the other boats, 

Chap. XXI. 



shunning the obstruction, shoot on ahead to be brought up 
each in its turn by mistaking a sandbank for the channel, 
which had often but a very little depth of water. 

A drowsy herd of hippopotami were suddenly startled by a 
score of rifle-shots, and stared in amazement at the strange 
objects which had invaded their peaceful domains, until a few 
more bullets compelled them to seek refuge at the bottom of 
the deep pool, near which they had been quietly reposing. 
On our return, one of the herd retaliated. He followed the 
boat, came up under it, and twice tried to tear the bottom 
out of it ; but fortunately it was too flat for his jaws to get 
a good gripe, so he merely damaged one of the planks with 
his tusks, though he lifted the boat right up, with ten men 
and a ton of ebony in it. 

We slept, one of the two nights Captain Gardner was with 
us, opposite the lakelet Chidia, which is connected with the 
river in flood time, and is nearly surrounded by hills some 
500 or 600 feet high, dotted over with trees. A few small 
groups of huts stood on the hill-sides, with gardens off which 
the usual native produce had been reaped. The people did 
not seem much alarmed by the presence of the large party 
which had drawn up on the sandbanks below their dwellings. 
There is abundance of large ebony in the neighbourhood. 
The pretty little antelope (Cephalophus cceruleus), about the 
size of a hare, seemed to abound, as many of their skins were 
offered for sale. Neat figured date-leaf mats of various 
colours are woven here, the different dyes being obtained 
from the barks of trees. Cattle could not live on the banks 
of the Kovuma on account of the tsetse, which are found 
from near the mouth, up as far as we could take the boats. 
The navigation did not improve as we ascended ; snags, 
brought down by the floods, were common, and left in the 
channel on the sudden subsidence of the water. In many 



Chap. XXI. 

places, where the river divided into two or three channels, 
there was not water enough in any of them for a boat draw- 
ing three feet, so we had to drag ours over the shoals ; but 
we saw the river at its very lowest, and it may be years 
before it is so dried up again. 

The valley of the Rovuma, bounded on each side by a 
range of highlands, is from two to four miles in width, and 
comes in a pretty straight course from the W.S.W. ; but 
the channel of the river is winding, and now at its lowest 
zigzagged so perversely, that frequently the boats had to pass 
over three miles to make one in a straight line. With a 
full stream it must of course be much easier work. Few 
natives were seen during the first week. Their villages are 
concealed in the thick jungle on the hill-sides, for protection 
from marauding slave-parties. Not much of interest was ob- 
served on this part of the silent and shallow river. Though 
feeling convinced that it was unfit for navigation, except for 
eight months of the year, we pushed on, resolved to see if, 
further inland, the accounts we had received from different 
naval officers of its great capabilities would prove correct ; 
or if, by communication with Lake Nyassa, even the upper 
part could be turned to account. Our exploration showed us, 
that the greatest precaution is required in those who visit 
new countries. 

The reports we received from gentlemen, who had entered 
the river and were well qualified to judge, were that the 
Eovuma was infinitely superior to the Zambesi, in the ab- 
sence of any bar at its mouth, in its greater volume of 
water, and in the beauty of the adjacent lands. We pro- 
bably came at a different season from that in which they 
visited it, and our account ought to be taken with theirs to 
arrive at the truth. It might be available as a highway 
for commerce during three quarters of each year ; but casual 


visitors, like ourselves and others, are ill able to decide. The 
absence of bird or animal life was remarkable. Occasionally 
we saw pairs of the stately jabirus, or adjutant-looking mara- 
bouts, wading among the shoals, and spurwinged geese, and 
other water-fowl, but there was scarcely a crocodile or a 
hippopotamus to be seen. 

At the end of the first week, an old man called at our 
camp, and said he would send a present from his village, 
which was up among the hills. He appeared next morning 
with a number of his people, bringing meal, cassava-root, 
and yams. The language differs considerably from that on 
the Zambesi, but it is of the same family. The people are 
Makonde, and are on friendly terms with the Mabiha, and 
the Makoa, who live south of the Eovuma. When taking 
a walk up the slopes of the north bank, we found a great 
variety of trees we had seen nowhere else. Those usually 
met with far inland seem here to approach the coast. 
African ebony, generally named mpingu, is abundant within 
eight miles of the sea ; it attains a larger size, and has 
more of the interior black wood than usual. A good timber 
tree called mosoko is also found ; and we saw half-caste Arabs 
near the coast cutting up a large log of it into planks. Be- 
fore reaching the top of the rise we were in a forest of 
bamboos. On the plateau above, large patches were cleared 
and cultivated. A man invited us to take a cup of beer ; on 
our complying with his request, the fear previously shown by 
the bystanders vanished. Our Mazaro men could hardly 
understand what they said. Some of them waded in the 
river and caught a curious fish in holes in the claybank. 
Its ventral fin is peculiar, being unusually large, and of a 
circular shape, like boys' playthings called " suckers." We 
were told that this fish is found also in the Zambesi, and is 
called Chirire. Though all its fins are large, it is asserted 



Chap. XXI. 

that it rarely ventures out into the stream, but remains near 
its hole, where it is readily caught by the hand. 

The Zambesi men thoroughly understood the characteristic 
marks of deep or shallow water, and showed great skill in 
finding out the proper channel. The Molimo is the steersman 
at the helm, the Mokadamo is the head canoe-man, and he 
stands erect on the bows with a long pole in his hands, and 
directs the steersman where to go, aiding the rudder, if 
necessary, with his pole. The others preferred to stand and 
punt our boat, rather than row with our long oars, being able 
to shove her ahead faster than they could pull her. They are 
accustomed to short paddles. Our Mokadamo was affected 
with moon-blindness, and could not see at all at night. His 
comrades then led him about, and handed him his food. 
They thought that it was only because his eyes rested all 
night, that he could see the channel so well by day. At 
difficult places the Mokadamo sometimes, however, made 
mistakes, and ran us aground; and the others, evidently 
imbued with the spirit of resistance to constituted autho- 
rity, and led by Joao an aspirant for the office, jeered him 
for his stupidity. " Was he asleep? Why did he allow 
the boat to come there ? Could he not see the channel 
was somewhere else ? " At last the Mokadamo threw down 
the pole in disgust, and told Joao he might be a Mokadamo 
himself. The office was accepted with alacrity ; but in a 
few minutes he too ran us into a worse difficulty than his 
predecessor ever did, and was at once disrated amidst the 
derision of his comrades. 

In travelling it is best to enjoy the little simple incidents 
of this kind, which, at most, exemplify the tendencies woven 
into the being of the whole human family. It is a pity to 
hear that some of our countrymen rudely interfere in what 
really does no harm. Blows even have been inflicted under 

Chap. XXI. 



the silly assumption that the negro is this, that, and the 
other thing, and not, like other men, a curious mixture 
of good and evil, wisdom and folly, cleverness and stupidity. 
An Englishman possessed of a gun, which had the ugly trick 
of going off of itself, came up the Zambesi in a canoe 
manned by natives. He scarcely knew another word of 
the language than the verb " to Mil" The gun, as was 
its wont, accidentally went off close to the head of one of 
the party, who, before going to sleep, expressed his fears 
to his comrades that this unlucky gun might " kill " some 
of them. Our hero caught the word, and spent the whole 
night revolver in hand, ready to punish the treachery which 
existed only in his own excited brain. This adventure he 
afterwards published in a newspaper as a terrible situation, 
a hairbreadth escape from bloodthirsty savages. Another 
British Lion, having to travel some two hundred miles in a 
canoe, and being unable to speak a word of the language, 
thought it clever to fire off all the barrels of his revolver 
every time his canoe-men proposed to land during the live- 
long day. The torrid sun right overhead was at its hottest. 
The poor fellows made signs they wished to purchase some 
beer. Off went the revolver, " No, no, no, paddle you must." 
This madness, as described to us by himself, was evidently 
thought clever. Another, whose estimate of himself and 
that formed of him by a tribe he visited did not at all 
coincide, after complaining at a public meeting of the un- 
truthfulness of a previous traveller to whom that same tribe 
had shown distinguished kindness and respect, stated, as we 
learn on the authority of a clergyman who was present, that 
he had tied up one of his people before reaching the tribe 
referred, to, " and given him a sound thrashing." Let us 
fancy the effect on an English village if a black man came 
to it, and a white servant complained that he had been 

2 F 



Chap. XXT. 

maltreated by him on the way. We have felt heartily 
ashamed sometimes on discovering how causelessly we have 
been angry. No doubt the natives are at times as perversely 
stupid as servants at home can be when they like ; but our 
conduct must often appear to the native mind as a mixture 
of silliness and insanity. 

On the 16th September, we arrived at the inhabited island 
of Kichokomane. The usual way of approaching an unknown 
people is to call out in a cheerful tone " Malonda !" Things for 
sale, or do you want to sell anything ? If we can obtain a man 
from the last village, he is employed, though only useful in 
explaining to the next that we come in a friendly way. The 
people here were shy of us at first, and could not be induced 
to sell any food ; until a woman, more adventurous than the 
rest, sold us a fowl. This opened the market, and crowds 
came with fowls and meal, far beyond our wants. The 
women are as ugly as those on Lake Nyassa, for who can 
be handsome wearing the pelele or upper-lip ring of large 
dimensions? We were once surprised to see young men 
wearing the pelele, and were told that in the tribe of the 
Mabiha, on the south bank, men as well as women wore 

Along the left bank, above Kichokomane, is an exceed- 
ingly fertile plain, nearly two miles broad, and studded 
with a number of deserted villages. The inhabitants were 
living in temporary huts on low naked sandbanks ; and we 
found this to be the case as far as we went. They leave 
most of their property and food behind, because they are 
not afraid of these being stolen, but only fear being stolen 
themselves. The great slave-route from Nyassa to Kilwa 
passes to N.E. from S.W., just beyond them; and it is 
dangerous to remain in their villages at this time of year, 
when the kidnappers are abroad. In one of the tempo- 

Chap. XXI. 



rary villages, we saw, in passing, two human heads lying 
on the ground. We slept a couple of miles above this 

Before sunrise next morning, a large party armed with 
bows and arrows and muskets came to the camp, two or 
three of them having a fowl each, which we refused to pur- 
chase, having bought enough the day before. They followed 
us all the morning, and after breakfast those on the left 
bank swam across and joined the main party on the other 
side. It was evidently their intention to attack us at a 
chosen spot, where we had to pass close to a high bank, 
but their plan was frustrated by a stiff breeze sweeping 
the boats past, before the majority could get to the place. 
They disappeared then, but came out again ahead of us, on a 
high wooded bank, walking rapidly to the bend, near which 
we were obliged to sail. An arrow was shot at the foremost 
boat ; and seeing the force at the bend, we pushed out from 
the side, as far as the shoal water would permit, and tried 
to bring them to a parley, by declaring, that we had not come 
to fight, but to see the river. " Why did you fire a gun, a 
little while ago ? " they asked. " We shot a large puff-adder, 
to prevent it from killing men ; you may see it lying dead on 
the beach." With great courage, our Mokadamo waded to 
within thirty yards of the bank, and spoke with much 
earnestness, assuring them that we were a peaceable party, 
and had not come for war, but to see the river. We were 
friends, and our countrymen bought cotton and ivory, and 
wished to come and trade with them. All we wanted was to 
go up quietly to look at the river, and then return to the sea 
again. While he was talking with those on the shore, the 
old rogue, who appeared to be the ringleader, stole up the 
bank, and with a dozen others, waded across to the island, near 
which the boats lay, and came down behind us. Wild with 

2 f 2 



Chap. XXI. 

excitement, they rushed into the water, and danced in our 
rear, with drawn bows, taking aim, and making various 
savage gesticulations. Their leader urged them to get behind 
some snags, and then shoot at us. The party on the bank 
in front had many muskets — and those of them, who had 
bows, held them with arrows ready set in the bowstrings. 
They had a mass of thick bush and trees behind them, into 
which they could in a moment dart, after discharging their 
muskets and arrows, and be completely hidden from our 
sight; a circumstance that always gives people who use 
bows and arrows the greatest confidence. Notwithstand- 
ing these demonstrations, we were exceedingly loath to 
come to blows. We sjpent a full half-hour exposed at any 
moment to be struck by a bullet or poisoned arrow. We ex- 
plained that we were better armed than they were, and had 
plenty of ammunition, the suspected want of which often 
inspires them with courage, but that we did not w r ish to shed 
the blood of the children of the same Great Father with 
ourselves; that if we must fight, the guilt would be all 

This being a common mode of expostulation among them- 
selves, w r e so far succeeded, that with great persuasion the 
leader and others laid down their arms, and waded over from 
the bank to the boats to talk the matter over. " This was 
their river; they did not allow white men to use it. 
We must pay toll for leave to pass." It was somewhat 
humiliating to do so, but it was pay or fight ; and, rather 
than fight, we submitted to the humiliation of paying 
for their friendship, and gave them thirty yards of cloth. 
They pledged themselves to be our friends ever afterwards, 
and said thev would have food cooked for us on our return. 
We then hoisted sail, and proceeded, glad that the affair 
had been amicably settled. Those on shore walked up to 

Chap. XXL 



the bend above to look at the boat, as we supposed; 
but, the moment she was abreast of them, they gave us 
a volley of musket-balls and poisoned arrows, without a 
word of warning. Fortunately we were so near, that all 
the arrows passed clear over us, but four musket-balls went 
through the sail just above our heads. All our assailants 
bolted into the bushes and long grass, the instant after 
firing, save two, one of whom was about to discharge a 
musket and the other an arrow, when arrested by the 
fire of the second boat. Not one of them showed their 
faces again, till we were a thousand yards away. A 
few shots were then fired over their heads, to give them 
an idea of the range of our rifles, and they all fled into 
the woods. Those on the sandbank rushed off too, 
with the utmost speed ; but, as they had not shot at us, 
we did not molest them, and they went off safely with 
their cloth. They probably expected to kill one of our 
number, and in the confusion rob the boats. It is onlv 
where the people are slavers, that the natives of this part 
of Africa are bloodthirsty. 

These people have a bad name in the country in front, 
even among their own tribe. A slave-trading Arab we met 
above, thinking we were then on our way down the river, 
advised us not to land at the villages, but to stay in the 
boats, as the inhabitants were treacherous, and attacked 
at once, without any warning or provocation. Our experi- 
ence of their conduct fully confirmed the truth of what 
he said. There was no trade on the river where they 
lived, but beyond that part there was a brisk canoe- 
trade in rice and salt; those further in the interior culti- 
vating rice, and sending it down the river to be exchanged 
for salt, which is extracted from the earth in certain places 
on the banks. Our assailants hardly anticipated resist- 



ance, and told a neighbouring Chief, that if they had 
known who we were, they would not have attacked English, 
who can "bite hard." They offered no molestations on 
our way down, though we were an hour in passing then' 
village. Our canoe-men plucked up courage on finding 
that we had come off unhurt. One of them named Chiku, 
acknowledging that he had been terribly frightened, said 
" His fear was not the kind which makes a man jump over- 
board and run away ; but that which brings the heart up to 
the mouth, and renders the man powerless, and no more 
able to fight than a woman." 

In the country of Chonga Michi, about 80 or 90 miles up 
the river, we found decent people, though of the same tribe, 
who treated strangers with civility. A body of Makoa 
had come from their own country in the south, and settled 
here. The Makoa are known by a cicatrice in the forehead 
shaped like the new moon with the horns turned downwards. 
The tribe possesses all the country west of Mosambique ; and 
they will not allow any of the Portuguese to pass into their 
country more than two hours' distance from the fort. A 
hill some ten or twelve miles distant, called Pau, has been 
visited during the present generation only by one Portuguese 
and one English officer, and this visit was accomplished only 
by the influence of the private friendship of a Chief for this 
Portuguese gentleman. Our allies have occupied the Fort of 
Mosambique for three hundred years, but in this, as in all 
other cases, have no power further than they can see from 
a gun-carriage. 

The Makoa chief, Matingula, was hospitable and com- 
municative, telling us all he knew of the river and country 
beyond. He had been once to Iboe and once at Mosambique 
with slaves. Our men understood his language easily. A 
useless musket he had bought at one of the above places was 

Chap. XXI. 



offered us for a little cloth. Having received a present of food 
from him, a railway rug was handed to him : he looked at it 
— had never seen cloth like that before — did not approve 
of it, and would rather have cotton cloth. " But this will 
keep you warm at night." — " Oh I do not wish to be kept 
warm at night." — We gave him a bit of cotton cloth, not 
one-third the value of the rug, but it was more highly 
prized. His people refused to sell their fowls for oui 
splendid prints and drab cloths. They had probably been, 
taken in with gaudy-patterned sham prints before. They 
preferred a very cheap, plain, blue stuff of which they 
had experience. A great quantity of excellent honey is 
collected all along the river, by bark hives being placed 
for the bees on the high trees on both banks. Large pots 
of it, very good and clear, were offered in exchange for 
a very little cloth. No wax was brought for sale ; there 
being no market for this commodity it is probably thrown 
awav as useless. 

At Michi we lose the table-land which, up to this point, 
bounds the view on both sides of the river, as it were, with 
ranges of flat-topped hills, 600 or 800 i'eet high ; and to this 
plateau a level fertile plain succeeds, on which stand 
detached granite hills. That portion of the table-land on 
the right bank seems to bend away to the south, still pre- 
serving the appearance of a hill range. The height opposite 
extends a few miles further west, and then branches off in a 
northerly direction. A few small pieces of coal were picked 
up on the sandbanks, showing that this useful mineral 
exists on the Eovuma, or on some of its tributaries: the 
natives know that it will burn. At the lakelet Chidia, we 
noticed the same sandstone rock, with fossil wood on it, which 
we have on the Zambesi, and knew to be a sure evidence 
of coal beneath. We mentioned this at the time to Captain 



Gardner, and our finding coal now seemed a verification 
of what we then said ; the coalfield probably extends from 
the Zambesi to the Kovuma, if not beyond it. Some of the 
rocks lower down have the permanent water-line three feet 
above the present height of the water. 

A few miles west of the Makoa of Matingula, we came 
again among the Makonde, but now of good repute. War 
and slavery have driven them to seek refuge on the sand- 
banks. A venerable-looking old man hailed us as we 
passed, and asked us if we were going by without speaking. 
We landed, and he laid down his gun and came to us ; he 
was accompanied by his brother, who shook hands with every 
one in the boat, as he had seen people do at Kilwa. " Then 
you have seen white men before ? " we said. " Yes," replied 
the polite African, " but never people of your quality." These 
men were very black, and wore but little clothing. A young 
woman, dressed in the highest style of Makonde fashion, 
punting as dexterously as a man could, brought a canoe full 
of girls to see us. She wore an ornamental head-dress of red 
beads tied to her hair on one side of her head, a necklace of 
fine beads of various colours, two bright figured brass brace- 
lets on her left arm, and scarcely a farthing's worth of cloth, 
though it was at its cheapest. 

As we pushed on westwards, we found that the river makes 
a little southing, and some reaches were deeper than any 
near the sea ; but when we had ascended about 140 miles by 
the river's course from the sea, soft tufa rocks began to 
appear; ten miles beyond, the river became more narrow 
and rocky, and when, according to our measurement, we had 
ascended 156 miles, our further progress was arrested. We 
were rather less than two degrees in a straight line from 
the Coast. The incidents worth noticing were but few : 
seven canoes with loads of salt and rice kept company with 



us for some days, and the further we went inland, the more 
civil the people became. 

When we came to a stand, just below the island of Nyama- 
tolo, Long. 38° 36' E., and Lat. 11° 53', the river was narrow, 
and full of rocks. Near the island there is a rocky rapid with 
narrow passages fit only for native canoes ; the fall is small, 
and the banks quite low ; but these rocks were an effectual 
barrier to all further progress in boats. Previous reports 
represented the navigable part of this river as extending to 
the distance of a month's sail from its mouth; we found 
that, at the ordinary heights of the water, a boat might reach 
the obstructions which seem peculiar to all African rivers in 
six or eight days. The Eovuma is remarkable for the high 
lands that flank it for some eighty miles from the ocean. 
The cataracts of other rivers occur in mountains, those of 
the Eovuma are found in a level part, with hills only in the 
distance. Far away in the west and north we could see high 
blue heights, probably of igneous origin from their forms, 
rising out of a plain. 

The distance from Ngomano, a spot thirty miles further 
up, to the Arab crossing-places of Lake Nyassa Tsenga or 
Kotakota was said to be twelve days. The way we had dis- 
covered to Lake Nyassa by Murchison's Cataracts had so 
much less land carriage, that we considered it best to take our 
steamer thither, by the route in which we were well known, 
instead of working where we were strangers ; and accordingly 
we made up our minds to return. 

The natives reported a worse place above our turning-point 
— the passage being still narrower than this. An Arab, they 
said, once built a boat above the rapids, and sent it down 
full of slaves ; but it was broken to pieces in these upper 
narrows. Many still maintained that the Eovuma came 
from Nyassa, and that it is very narrow as it issues out of 



Chap. XXI. 

the lake. One man declared that he had seen it with his 
own eyes as it left the lake, and seemed displeased at being 
cross-questioned, as if we doubted his veracity. 

More satisfactory information, as it appeared to us, was 
obtained from others. Two days, or thirty miles, beyond 
where we turned back, the Kovuma is joined by the Liende, 
which, coming from the south-west, rises in the mountains on 
the east side of Nyassa. The great slave route to Kilwa runs 
up the banks of this river, which is only ankle-deep at the 
dry season of the year. The Kovuma itself comes from the 
W.N.W., and after the traveller passes the confluence of the 
Liende at Ngomano or " meeting-place," the Chief of which 
part is named Ndonde, he finds the river narrow, and the 
people Ajawa. 

The Nyamatolo people have a great abundance of food, 
and they cultivate the land extensively. The island is simply 
their summer residence ; their permanent villages being in the 
woods. While hunting, we entered some of these villages, 
and saw that large quantities of grain were left in them, and 
in some parts of the forest away from the villages we found 
many pots of oil- yielding seeds (sesamum), besides grain. 
The sesamum was offered to us both for sale and as a 
present, under the name mafuta, or fat ; and small quantities 
of gum copal were also brought to us, which led us to think 
that these articles may have been collected by the Arabs. 
Tobacco, formed into lumps, was abundant and cheap. Cotton- 
bushes w r ere seen, but no one was observed spinning or 
weaving cotton for anything but fishing-nets. The article of 
most value was a climbing dye-wood, which attains the thick- 
ness of a man's leg, and which Dr. Kirk has found experi- 
mentally to be of considerable value as a fast yellow colour. 
Baobab-trees on the Rovuma, though not nearly so gigantic in 
size as those on the Zambesi, bear fruit more than twice as 



large. The great white blossoms were just out, and much 
of last year's fruit was still hanging on the branches. 

Crocodiles in the Kovuma have a sorry time of it. 
Never before were reptiles so persecuted and snubbed. 
They are hunted with spears, and spring traps are set for 
them. If one of them enters an inviting pool after fish, 
he soon finds a fence thrown round it, and a spring trap 
set in the only path out of the enclosure. Their flesh is 
eaten, and relished. The banks, on which the female lays 
her eggs by night, are carefully searched by day, and all the 
eggs dug out and devoured. The fish-hawk makes havoc 
among the few young ones that escape their other enemies. 
Our men were constantly on the look-out for crocodiles' 
nests. One was found containing thirty-five newly-laid eggs, 
and they declared that the crocodile would lay as many more 
the second night in another place. The eggs were a foot 
deep in the sand on the top of a bank ten feet high. 
The animal digs a hole with its foot, covers the eggs, 
and leaves them till the river rises over the nest in about 
three months afterwards, when she ccmes back, and assists 
the young ones out. We once saw opposite Tette young 
crocodiles in December, swimming beside an island in com- 
pany with an old one. The yolk of the egg is nearly as 
white as the real white. In taste they resemble lien's eggs 
with perhaps a smack of custard, and would be as highly 
relished by whites as by blacks, were it not for their unsa- 
voury origin in men-eaters. 

Hunting the Senze (Aulacodus Swindernianus), an animal 
the size of a large cat, but in shape more like a pig, was the 
chief business of men and boys as we passed the reedy banks 
and low islands. They set fire to a mass of reeds, and, armed 
with sticks, spears, bows and arrows, stand in groups guard- 
ing the outlets through which the scared Senze may run from 



Chap. XXT. 

the approaching flames. Dark dense volumes of impene- 
trable smoke now roll over on the lee side of the islet, and 
shroud the hunters. At times vast sheets of lurid flames 
bursting forth, roaring, crackling and exploding, leap wildly 
far above the tall reeds. Out rush the terrified animals, and 
amid the smoke are seen the excited hunters dancing about 
with frantic gesticulations, and hurling stick, spear, and 
arrow at their burned out victims. Kites hover over the 
smoke, ready to pounce on the mantis and locusts as they 
spring from the fire. Small crows and hundreds of swallows 
are on eager wing, darting into the smoke and out again, 
seizing fugitive flies. Scores of insects, in their haste to 
escape from the fire, jump into the river, and the active fish 
enjoy a rare feast. 

We returned to the Pioneer on the 9th of October, having 
been away one month. The ship's company had used distilled 
water, a condenser having been sent out from England ; and 
there had not been a single case of sickness on board since 
we left, though there were so many cases of fever the few 
days she lay in the same spot last year. Our boat party 
drank the water of the river, and the three white sailors, who 
had never been in an African river before, had some slight 
attacks of fever. 

Chap. XXII 




Quillimane — Colonel Nunez — Government opposed to agriculture — Passport 
system — The Quillimane "do-nothings" — Return to the Zambesi — Shu- 
panga, December 19th, 1862 — Our Mazaro men and their relations — 
Famine at Tette — Dispersion of slaves — " The Portuguese don't farm " nor 
hunt — January 10th, the Lady Nyassa in tow — Mariano's atrocities — 

. The Bishop's grave — Smell and hearing in animals — Angling for crocodile 

— Frightful sight — Crocodile versus Makololo — Penetration of air through- 
out systems of birds — Eeturn of Mr. Thornton — Kilimanjaro — Mr. Thorn- 
ton's generous kindness to Mission — Journey to Tette too much for him — 
His death and grave — Wide-spread desolation — Slave-trade and famine — 
Marsh culture — Lethargy of remnant of people — Skeletons — Abolition of 
slave-trade a sine qua non — Influence of English steamer on Lake Nyassa 

— Road-making — Green freshness of hills — No provisions to be bought 

— No labour — Poor food and depressed spirits, forerunners of disease — Dr. 
Kirk and C. Livingstone ordered home — Dr. Livingstone ill — Dr. Kirk 
remains to attend him — 19th May, Dr. Kirk and C. Livingstone leave — 
Remonstrance to Lisbon Government — Empty results — Conduct of Portu- 
guese statesmen towards Africa — Dr. Livingstone and Mr. Rae start to 
look after our old boat — Employments of those left behind — Woman 
wounded by an arrow — Tenacity of life — Dr. Meller. 

We put to sea on the 18th of October, and, again touching 
at Johanna, obtained a crew of Johanna men and some oxen, 
and sailed for the Zambesi ; but our fuel failing before we 
reached it, and the wind being contrary, we ran into Quil- 
limane for wood. 

Quillimane must have been built solely for the sake of 
carrying on the slave-trade, for no man in his senses would 
ever have dreamed of placing a village on such a low, muddy, 
fever-haunted, and mosquito-swarming site, had it not been 
for the facilities it afforded for slaving. The bar may at 
springs and floods be easily crossed by sailing-vessels, but, 
being far from the land, it is always dangerous for boats, 
Slaves, under the name of "free emigrants," have gone by 



Chap. XXII. 

thousands from Quillimane, during the last six years, to the 
ports a little to the south, particularly to Massangano. Some 
excellent brick-houses still stand in the place, and the owners 

View of Quillimane and of the Pioneer. 

are generous and hospitable : among them our good friend, 
Colonel Nunez. His disinterested kindness to us and to all 
our countrymen can never be forgotten. He is a noble 
example of what energy and uprightness may accomplish 
even here. He came out as a cabin-boy, and, without a 
single friend to help him, he has persevered in an honour- 
able course until he is the richest man on the East Coast. 
When Dr. Livingstone came down the Zambesi in I806, 
Colonel Nunez was the chief of the only four honourable, 
trustworthy men in the country. But while he has 
risen, a whole herd has sunk, making loud lamentations, 
through puffs of cigar-smoke, over negro laziness; they might 
•> add, tlieir own. 



All agricultural enterprise is virtually discouraged by the 
Quillimane Government. A man must purchase a permit 
from the Governor, when he wishes to visit his country farm ; 
and this tax, in a country where labour is unpopular, causes 
the farms to be almost entirely left in the hands of a head 
slave, who makes returns to his master as interest or honesty 
prompts him. A passport must also be bought whenever a 
man wishes to go up the river to Mazaro, Senna, or Tette, or 
even to reside for a month at Quillimane. With a soil 
and a climate well suited for the growth of the cane, abun- 
dance of slave labour, and water communication to any 
market in the world, they have never made their own 
sugar. All they use is imported from Bombay. " The 
people of Quillimane have no enterprise," said a young 
European Portuguese, " they do nothing, and are always 
wasting their time in suffering, or in recovering from fever." 

We entered the Zambesi about the end of November and 
found it unusually low, so we did not get up to Shupanga 
till the 19th of December. The friends of our Mazaro men, 
who had now become good sailors ard very attentive ser- 
vants, turned out and gave them a hearty welcome back 
from the perils of the sea : they had begun to fear that 
they would never return. We hired them at a sixteen- 
yard piece of cloth a month— about ten shillings' worth, the 
Portuguese market-price of the cloth being then sevenpence 
halfpenny a yard, — and paid them five pieces each, for four- 
and-a-half months' work. A merchant at the same time paid 
other Mazaro men three pieces for seven months, and they 
were with him in the interior. If the merchants do not 
prosper, it is not because labour is dear, but because it 
is scarce, and because they are so eager on e7ery occasion 
to sell the workmen out of the country. Our men had 
also received quantities of good clothes from the sailors 



Chap. XXII. 

of the Pioneer and of the Orestes, and were now re- 
garded by their neighbours and by themselves as men 
of importance. Never before had they possessed so much 
wealth : they believed that they might settle in life, 
being now of sufficient standing to warrant their entering 
the married state; and a wife and a hut were among 
their first investments. Sixteen yards were paid to the 
wife's parents, and a hut cost four yards. We should have 
liked to have kept them in the ship, for they were well- 
behaved and had learned a great deal of the work required. 
Though they would not themselves go again, they engaged 
others for us ; and brought twice as many as we could take, of 
their brothers and cousins, who were eager to join the ship 
and go with us up the Shire, or anywhere else. They all 
agreed to take half-pay until they too had learned to work ; 
and we found no scarcity of labour, though all that could be 
exported is now out of the country. 

There had been a drought of unusual severity during the 
past season in the country between Lupata and Kebrabasa, 
and it had extended north-east to the Manganja highlands. 
All the Tette slaves, except a very few household ones, 
had been driven away by hunger, and were now far off 
in the woods, and wherever wild fruit, or the prospect of 
obtaining anything whatever to keep the breath of life in 
them, was to be found. Their masters were said never to 
expect to see them again. There have been two years of 
great hunger at Tette since we have been in the country, 
and a famine like the present prevailed in 1854, when 
thousands died of starvation. If men like the Cape farmers 
owned this country, their energy and enterprise would soon 
render the crops independent of rain. There being plenty of 
slope or fall, the land could be easily irrigated from the 
Zambesi and its tributary streams. A Portuguese colony can 



never prosper : it is used as a penal settlement, and everything 
must be done military fashion. " What do I care for this 
country ? " said the most enterprising of the Tette merchants, 
44 all I want is to make money as soon as possible, and then 
go to Bombay and enjoy it." All business at Tette was now 
suspended. Carriers could not be found to take the goods into 
the interior, and the merchants could barely obtain food for 
their own families. At Mazaro more rain had fallen, and a 
tolerable crop followed. The people of Shupanga w T ere 
collecting and drying different wild fruits, nearly all of which 
are far from palatable to a European taste. The root of a 
small creeper called " bise " is dug up and eaten. In appear- 
ance it is not unlike the small white sweet potato, and has a 
little of the flavour of our potato. It would be very good, if 
it were only a little larger. From another tuber, called 
" ulanga," very good starch can be made. A few miles from 
Shupanga there is an abundance of large game, but the 
people here, though fond enough of meat, are not a hunting 
race, and seldom kill any. 

The Shire having risen, we steamed off on the 10th of 
January, 1863, with the Lady Nyassa in tow. It was 
not long before we came upon the ravages of the notorious 
Mariano. The survivors of a small hamlet, at the foot of 
Morambala, were in a state of starvation, having lost their 
food by one of his marauding parties. The women were in 
the fields collecting insects, roots, wild fruits, and whatever 
could be eaten, in order to drag on their lives, if possible, 
till the next crop should be ripe. Two canoes passed us, 
that had been robbed by Mariano's band of everything they 
had in them ; the owners were gathering palm-nuts for their 
subsistence. They wore palm-leaf aprons, as the robbers had 
stripped them of their clothing and ornaments. Dead bodies 
floated past us daily, and in the mornings the paddles had to 

2 G 



Chap. XXII, 

be cleared of corpses, caught by the floats during the night. 
For scores of miles the entire population of the valley was 
swept away by this scourge Mariano, who is again, as he was 
before, the great Portuguese slave-agent. It made the heart 
ache to see the wide-spread desolation ; the river-banks, 
once so populous, all silent ; the villages burned down, and 
an oppressive stillness reigning where formerly crowds of 
eager sellers appeared with the various products of their 
industry. Here and there might be seen on the bank a small 
dreary deserted shed, where had sat, day after day, a starving 
fisherman, until the rising waters drove the fish from their 
wonted haunts, and left him to die. Tingane had been 
defeated ; his people had been killed, kidnapped, and forced 
to flee from their villages. There were a few wretched sur- 
vivors in a village above the Euo ; but the majority of the 
population was dead. The sight and smell of dead bodies 
was everywhere. Many skeletons lay beside the path, where 
in their weakness they had fallen and expired. Ghastly 
living forms of boys and girls, with dull dead eyes, were 
crouching beside some of the huts. A few more miserable 
days of their terrible hunger, and they would be with the 

Oppressed with the shocking scenes around, we visited the 
Bishop's grave ; and though it matters little where a good 
Christian's ashes rest, yet it was with sadness that we thought 
over the hopes which had clustered around him, as he left the 
classic grounds of Cambridge, all now buried in this wild place. 
How it would have torn his kindly heart to witness the sights 
we now were forced to see ! 

In giving vent to the natural feelings of regret, that a 
man so eminently endowed and learned, as was Bishop Mac- 
kenzie, should have been so soon cut off, some have ex- 
pressed an opinion that it was wrong to use an instrument so 

Chap. XXII. 



valuable merely to convert the heathen. If the attempt is 
to be made at all, it is " penny wise and pound foolish " to 
employ any but the very best men, and those who are 
specially educated for the work. An ordinary clergyman, 
however well suited for a parish, will not, without special 
training, make a Missionary ; and as to their comparative 
usefulness, it is like that of the man who builds an hospital, as 
compared with that of the surgeon who in after years only 
administers for a time the remedies which the founder had 
provided in perpetuity. Had the Bishop succeeded in intro- 
ducing Christianity, his converts might have been few, but 
they would have formed a continuous roll for all time to come. 

The Shire fell two feet, before we reached the shallow 
crossing where we had formerly such difficulty, and we had 
now two ships to take up. A hippopotamus was shot two 
miles above a bank on which the ship lay a fortnight: it 
floated in three hours. As the boat was towing it down, the 
crocodiles were attracted by the dead beast, and several shots 
had to be fired to keep them off. The bullet had not entered 
the brain of the animal, but driven a splinter of bone into it. 
A little moisture with some gas issued from the wound, and 
this was all that could tell the crocodiles down the stream 
of a dead hippopotamus ; and yet they came up from miles 
below. Their sense of smell must be as acute as their 
hearing ; both are quite extraordinary. Dozens fed on the 
meat we left. Our Krooman, Jumbo, used to assert, that 
the crocodile never eats fresh meat, but always keeps it till 
it is high and tender — and the stronger it smells, the better 
he likes it. There seems to be some truth in this. They 
can swallow but small pieces at a time, and find it difficult 
to tear fresh meat. In the act of swallowing, which is like 
that of a dog, the head is raised out of the water. We 
tried to catch some, and one was soon hooked ; it required half- 

2 g 2 



Chap. XXII. 

a-dozen hands to haul him up the river, and the shark-hook 
straightened, and he got away. A large iron hook was next 
made, but, as the creatures could not swallow it, their jaws 
soon pressed it straight — and our crocodile-fishing was a 
failure. As one might expect, — from the power even of a 
salmon — the tug of a crocodile was terribly strong. 

The corpse of a boy floated past the ship ; a monstrous 
crocodile rushed at it with the speed of a greyhound, 
caught it and shook it, as a terrier dog does a rat. 
Others dashed at the prey, each with his powerful tail 
causing the water to churn and froth, as he furiously tore 
off a piece. In a few seconds it was all gone. The sight 
was frightful to behold. The Shire swarmed with croco- 
diles ; we counted sixty-seven of these repulsive reptiles on 
a single bank, but they are not as fierce as they are in 
some rivers. " Crocodiles" says Captain Tuckey, " are so 
plentiful in the Congo, near the rapids, and so frequently carry 
off the women, who at daylight go down to the river for 
water, that, while they are filling their calabashes, one of the 
party is usually employed in throwing large stones into the 
water outside." Here, either a calabash on a long pole is used 
in drawing water, or a fence is planted. The natives eat 
the crocodile, but to us the idea of tasting the musky- 
scented, fishy-looking flesh carried the idea of cannibalism. 
Humboldt remarks, that in South America the alligators of 
some rivers are more dangerous than in others. Alligators 
differ from crocodiles in the fourth or canine tooth going 
into a hole or socket in the upper jaw, while, in the croco- 
dile it fits into a notch. The forefoot of the crocodile has 
five toes not webbed, the hindfoot has four toes which are 
webbed; in the alligator the web is altogether wanting. 
They are so much alike that they would no doubt breed 

Chap. XXII, 



One of the crocodiles which was shot had a piece snapped 
off the end of his tail, another had lost a forefoot in fighting ; we 
saw actual leeches between the teeth, such as are mentioned by 
Herodotus, but we never witnessed the plover picking them out 
Their greater fierceness in one part of the country than ano- 
ther is doubtless owing to a scarcity of fish ; in fact, Captain 
Tuckey says, of that part of the Congo, mentioned above, 
" There are no fish here but catfish," and we found, that the 
lake crocodiles, living in clear water, and with plenty of fish, 
scarcely ever attacked man. The Shire teems with fish of 
many different kinds. The only time, as already remarked, 
when its crocodiles are particularly to be dreaded, is when 
the river is in flood. Then the fish are driven from their 
usual haunts, and no game comes down to the river to drink, 
water being abundant in pools inland. Hunger now impels 
the crocodile to lie in wait for the women who come to draw 
water, and on the Zambesi numbers are carried off every year. 
The danger is not so great at other seasons ; though it is never 
safe to bathe, or to stoop to drink, where one cannot see the 
bottom, especially in the evenings One of the Makololo ran 
down in the dusk to the river ; and, as he was busy tossing the 
water to his mouth with his hand, in the manner peculiar 
to the natives, a crocodile rose suddenly from the bottom, 
and caught him by the hand. The limb of a tree was fortu- 
nately within reach, and he had presence of mind to lay hold 
of it. Both tugged and pulled ; the crocodile for his dinner, 
and the man for dear life. For a time, it appeared doubtful 
whether a dinner or a life was to be sacrificed ; but the man 
held on, and the monster let the hand go, leaving the deep 
marks of his ugly teeth in it. 

During our detention, in expectation of the permanent rise 
of the river in March, Dr. Kirk and Mr. C. Livingstone col- 
lected numbers of the wading-birds of the marshes — and 



made 'pleasant additions to our salted provisions, in geese, 
ducks, and hippopotamus flesh. One of the comb or knob- 
nosed geese, on being strangled in order to have its skin 
preserved without injury, continued to breathe audibly by the 
broken humerus, or wing-bone, and other means had to be 
adopted to put it out of pain. This was as if a man on 
the gallows were to continue to breathe by a broken arm- 
bone, and afforded us an illustration of the fact, that in birds, 
the vital air penetrates every part of the interior of their 
bodies. The breath passes through and round about the 
lungs — bathes the surfaces of the viscera, and enters the 
cavities of the bones ; it even penetrates into some spaces 
between the muscles of the neck — and thus not only is the 
most perfect oxygenation of the blood secured, but, the 
temperature of the blood being very high, the air in every 
part is rarefied, and the great lightness and vigour provided 
for, that the habits of birds require. Several birds were 
found by Dr. Kirk, to have marrow in the tibiae, though these 
bones are generally described as hollow. 

During the period of our detention on the shallow part of 
the river in March, Mr. Thornton came up to us from Shu- 
panga: he had, as before narrated, left the expedition in 
1859, and joined Baron van der Deck en, in the journey to 
Kilimanjaro, when, by an ascent of the mountain to the height 
of 8000 feet, it was first proved to be covered with perpetual 
snow, and the previous information respecting it, given by 
the Church of England Missionaries, Krapf and Kebman, con- 
firmed. It is now well known that the Baron subsequently 
ascended the Kilimanjaro to 14,000 feet, and ascertained 
its highest peak to be at least 20,000 feet above the sea. 
Mr. Thornton made the map of the first journey, at Shu- 
panga, from materials collected when with the Baron ; 
and when that work was accomplished, followed us. He was 



then directed to examine geologically, the Cataract district, 
but not to expose himself to contact with the Ajawa until the 
feelings of that tribe should be ascertained. 

The members of Bishop Mackenzie's party had, on the loss 
of their head, fled from Magomero on the highlands, down to 
Chibisa's, in the low-lying Shire Valley ; and Thornton, finding 
them suffering from want of animal food, kindly volunteered 
to go across thence to Tette, and bring a supply of goats 
and sheep. We were not aware of this step, to which the 
generosity of his nature prompted him, till two days after 
he had started. In addition to securing supplies for the 
Universities' Mission, he brought some for the Expedition, and 
took bearings, by which he hoped to connect his former work 
at Tette with the mountains in the Shire district. The 
toil of this journey was too much for his strength, as with 
the addition of great scarcity of water, it had been for 
that of Dr. Kirk and Kae, and he returned in a sadly 
haggard and exhausted condition ; diarrhoea supervened, 
and that ended in dysentery and fever, which terminated 
fatally on the 21st of April, 1863. He received the un- 
remitting attentions of Dr. Kirk, and Dr. Meller, surgeon 
of the Pioneer, during the fortnight of his illness ; and as 
he had suffered very little from fever, or any other disease, 
in Africa, we had entertained strong hopes that his youth 
and unimpaired constitution would have carried him through. 
During the night of the 20th, his mind wandered so much, 
that we could not ascertain his last wishes ; and on the morn- 
ing of the 21st, to our great sorrow, he died. He was buried 
on the 22nd, near a large tree on the right bank of the Shire, 
about five hundred yards from the lowest of the Murchison 
Cataracts — and close to a rivulet, at which the Lady Nyassa 
and Pioneer lay. 

No words can convey an adequate idea of the scene of wide- 



spread desolation, which the once pleasant Shire Valley now 
presented. Instead of smiling villages and crowds of people 
corning with things for sale, scarcely a sonl was to be seen ; 
and, when by chance one lighted on a native, his frame bore 
the impress of hunger, and his countenance, the look of a 
cringing broken - spirit edness. A drought had visited the 
land after the slave-hunting panic swept over it. Had it 
been possible to conceive the thorough depopulation winch 
had ensued, we should have avoided coming up the river. 
Large masses of the people had fled down to the Shire, 
only anxious to get the river between them and their 
enemies. Most of the food had been left behind ; and fa- 
mine and starvation had cut off so many, that the remainder 
were too few to bury the dead. The corpses we saw float- 
ing down the river were only a remnant of those that had 
perished, whom their friends, from weakness, could not bury, 
nor over-gorged crocodiles devour. It is true that famine 
caused a great portion of this waste of human life : but the 
slave-trade must be deemed the chief agent in the ruin, 
because, as we were informed, in former droughts all the 
people flocked from the hills down to the marshes, which 
are capable of yielding crops of maize in less than three 
months, at any time of the year, and now they were 
afraid to do so. A few, encouraged by the Mission in the 
attempt to cultivate, had their little patches robbed as suc- 
cessive swarms of fugitives came from the hills. Who can 
blame these outcasts from house and home for stealing to 
save their wretched lives, or wonder that the owners pro- 
tected the little all, on which their own lives depended, 
with club and spear? We were informed by Mr. Waller 
of the dreadful blight which had befallen the once smiling 
Shire Valley. His words, though strong, failed to impress 
us with the reality. In fact, they were received, as some 

Chap. XXIT. 



may accept our own, as tinged with exaggeration ; but 
when our eyes beheld the last mere driblets of this cup 
of woe, we for the first time felt that the enormous wrongs 
inflicted on our fellow-men by slaving are beyond exag- 

The plan adopted by these Manganja highlanders to raise 
crops on the soft black mud of the marshes might not 
occur to agriculturists of other countries. Coarse river-sand 
is put down on the rich dark ooze in spadefuls, at about 
two feet from each other, and the maize planted therein. 
In vegetating, the roots are free to take what they require 
from the too fat. soil beneath, and also atmospheric con- 
stituents through the sand. Nearly the same thing is done 
when the soil is more solid, but too damp. A hole is dug 
about a foot in depth, the seed is thrown in and covered 
with a spadeful of sand, and the result is a flourishing crop ; 
where, without the sand, the rich but too wet loam would 
yield nothing. In this way, the people saved their lives 
in former droughts, but now the slave-hunting panic seemed 
to have destroyed all presence of mind. The few wretched 
survivors, even after our arrival, were overpowered by an 
apathetic lethargy. They attempted scarcely any cultivation, 
which, for people so given to agriculture as they are, was 
very remarkable ; they were seen daily devouring the corn- 
stalks which had sprung up in the old plantations, and 
which would, if let alone, have yielded corn in a month. 
They could not be aroused from their lethargy. Famine 
benumbs all the faculties. We tried to induce some to 
exert themselves to procure food — but failed. They had 
lost all their former spirit, and with lacklustre eyes, 
scarcely meeting ours, and in whining tones, replied to every 
proposition for their benefit — " No, no ! " (Ai ! ai !) 

Wherever we took a walk, human skeletons were 



seen in every direction, and it was painfully interest- 
ing to observe the different postures in which the poor 
wretches had breathed their last. A whole heap had been 
thrown down a slope behind a village, where the fugitives 
often crossed the river from the east ; and in one hut 
of the same village no fewer than twenty drums had been 
collected, probably the ferryman's fees. Many had ended 
their misery under shady trees — others under projecting 
crags in the hills — while others lay in their huts, with 
closed doors, which when opened disclosed the mouldering 
corpse with the poor rags round the loins — the skull 
fallen off the pillow — the little skeleton of the child, that 
had perished first, rolled up in a mat between two large 
skeletons. The sight of this desert, but eighteen months 
ago a well peopled valley, now literally strewn with human 
bones, forced the conviction upon us, that the destruction 
of human life in the middle passage, however great, con- 
stitutes but a small portion of the waste, and made us feel 
that unless the slave-trade — that monster iniquity, which 
has so long brooded over Africa — is put down, lawful com- 
merce cannot be established. 

We believed that, if it were possible to get a steamer upon 
the Lake, we could by her means put a check on the slavers 
from the East Coast; and aid more effectually still in the 
suppression of the slave-trade, by introducing, by way of the 
Eovuma, a lawful traffic in ivory. We therefore unscrewed 
the Lady Nyassa at a rivulet about five hundred yards 
below the first cataract, and began to make a road over the 
thirty-five or forty miles of land portage, by which to carry 
her up piecemeal. After mature consideration, we could not 
imagine a more noble work of benevolence, than thus to 
introduce light and liberty into a quarter of this fair earth, 
which human lust has converted into the nearest possible 

Chap. XXII. 



resemblance of what we conceive the infernal regions to 
be — and we sacrificed ranch of our private resources as an 
offering for the promotion of so good a cause. 

The chief part of the labour of road-making consisted in 
cutting down trees and removing stones. The country 
being covered with open forest, a small tree had to be 
cut about every fifty or sixty yards. The land near the 
river was so very much intersected by ravines, that search 
had to be made, a mile from its banks, for more level 
ground. Experienced Hottentot drivers would have taken 
Cape wagons without any other trouble than that of occa- 
sionally cutting down a tree. No tsetse infested this dis- 
trict and the cattle brought from Johanna flourished on the 
abundant pasture. The first half-mile of road led up, by a 
gradual slope, to an altitude of two hundred feet above the 
ship, and a sensible difference of climate was felt even there. 
For the remainder of the distance the height increased, — till, 
at the uppermost Cataract, we were more than 1200 feet 
above the sea. The country here, having recovered from 
the effects of the drought, was bright with young green wood- 
land, and mountains of the same refreshing hue. But the 
absence of the crowds, which had attended us as we carried 
up the boat, when the women followed us for miles with fine 
meal, vegetables, and fat fowls for sale, and the boys were 
ever ready for a little job — and the oppressive stillness 
bore heavily on our spirits. The Portuguese of Tette had 
very effectually removed our labourers. Not an ounce of 
fresh provisions could be obtained, except what could be shot, 
and even the food for our native crew had to be brought 
one hundred and fifty miles from the Zambesi. 

The diet of salt provisions and preserved meats without 
vegetables, with the depression of spirits caused by seeing 
how effectually a few wretched convicts, aided by the con- 



Chap. XXII. 

nivance.of officials, of whom better might have been hoped, 
could counteract our best efforts, and turn intended good to 
certain evil, brought on attacks of dysentery, which went the 
round of the Expedition — and, Dr. Kirk and Charles Living- 
stone having suffered most severely, it was deemed advisable 
that they should go home. This measure was necessary, 
though much to the regret of all — for having done so much, 
they were naturally anxious to be present, when, by the esta- 
blishing ourselves on the Lake, all our efforts should be 
crowned with success. After it had been decided that these 
two officers, and all the whites who could be spared, should 
be sent down to the sea for a passage to England, Dr. 
Livingstone was seized in May with a severe attack of 
dysentery, which continued for a month, and reduced him 
to a shadow. Dr. Kirk kindly remained in attendance till 
the worst was passed. The parting took place on the 19th 
of May. 

We had still the hope, that by means of a strong remon- 
strance sent to Lisbon, against the Portuguese officials in 
Tette engaging in the slave-hunting forays, some means 
would be resorted to for preventing slavers for the future 
following on our footsteps and neutralizing our efforts. 
The appeal, however, we subsequently ascertained, produced 
only a shoal of promises from the Portuguese Ministry. 
New orders were to be sent out to the officials, to render 
us every assistance, and a request was made for information 
respecting Dr. Livingstone's geographical discoveries, for the 
especial use of the Minister of Marine and the Colonies : 
though it was notorious that his Excellency had made use of 
our previous information in constructing a map, in which 
by changing the spelling he had attempted to prove that 
Dr. Livingstone had made no discoveries at all. Truly our 
object was not so much discovery, as a desire to lead the 



nation, which his Excellency's countrymen had so enslaved 
and degraded, to a state of freedom and civilization. We 
regret to have to make this statement — but it was a 
monstrous mistake to believe in the honour of the Govern- 
ment of Portugal, or in their having a vestige of desire to 
promote the amelioration of Africa. One ought to hope the 
best of every one, giving, if possible, credit for good inten- 
tions ; but, though deeply sensible of obligations to indivi- 
duals of the nation, and anxious to renew the expressions 
of respect formerly used, we must declare the conduct of 
Portuguese statesmen to Africa to be simply infamous. 

After a few miles of road were completed, and the oxen 
broken in, we resolved to try and render ourselves independ- 
ent of the South for fresh provisions, by going in a boat up 
the Shire, above the Cataracts, to the tribes at the foot of 
Lake Nyassa, who were still untouched by the Ajawa invasion. 
In furtherance of this plan Dr. Livingstone and Mr. Eae 
determined to walk up to examine, and, if need be, mend 
the boat which had been left two seasons previously hung 
up to the limb of a large shady tree before attempting to 
carry another past the Cataracts. The Pioneer, which was to 
be left in charge of our active and most trustworthy gunner, 
Mr. Edward Young, B.N., was thoroughly roofed over with 
euphorbia branches and grass, so as completely to protect 
her decks from the sun : she also received daily a due 
amount of man-of-war scrubbing and washing ; and, besides 
having everything put in shipshape fashion, was every even- 
ing swung out into the middle of the river, for the sake of 
the greater amount of air which circulated there. In ad- 
dition to their daily routine work of the ship, the three 
stokers, one sailor, and one carpenter — now our comple- 
ment — were encouraged to hunt for guinea-fowl, which in 
June, when the water inland is dried up, come in large 



flocks to the river's banks, and roost on the trees at night. 
Everything that can be done to keep mind and body em- 
ployed, tends to prevent fever. 

During the period of convalescence, repairs were carried 
on on the Pioneer's engines. Trees were sawn into planks 
for paddle-floats, by two carpenters from Senna — and a 
garden made for vegetables, to be irrigated by a pump from 
the stream : our plot of ground was manured — a new style 
of agriculture to the people of this country, — the wheat was 
sown in May, when the weather was cold and damp, and it 
grew beautifully ; this was interesting, as showing how easily 
a Mission might be supplied with corn, by leading out one 
of the numerous springs which run among the hills. Good 
Bishop Mackenzie was fully aware of this, but unfortunately 
sowed his crop at the wrong time of the year. Had we 
been able, to continue to attend to ours, we should have 
had a crop in about four months' time ; but duty soon called 
us elsewhere. 

While we were employed in these operations, some of the 
poor starved people about had been in the habit of cross- 
ing the river, and reaping the self-sown mapira, in the old 
gardens of their countrymen. In the afternoon of the 9th, 
a canoe came floating down empty, and shortly after a 
woman was seen swimming near the other side, which was 
about two hundred yards distant from us. Our native crew 
manned the boat, and rescued her; when brought on board, 
she was found to have an arrow-head, eight or ten inches 
long in her back, below the ribs, and slanting up through 
the diaphragm and left lung, towards the heart — she had 
been shot from behind when stooping. Air was coming out 
of the wound, and, there being but an inch of the barbed 
arrow-head visible, it was thought better not to run the risk 
of her dying under the operation necessary for its removal ; 

Chap. XXII. 



so we carried her up to her own hut. One of her relatives was 
less scrupulous, for he cut out the arrow and part of the lung. 
Mr. Young sent her occasionally portions of native corn, and 
strange to say found that she not only became well, but 
stout. The constitution of these people seems to have a 
wonderful power of self-repair — and it could be no slight 
privation which had cut off the many thousands that we saw 
dead around us. 

We regretted that, in consequence of Dr. Meller having 
now sole medical charge, we could not have his company 
in our projected trip ; but he found employment in botany 
and natural history, after the annual sickly season of March, 
April, and May was over; and his constant presence was 
not so much required at the ship. Later in the year, 
when he could be well spared, he went down the river to 
take up an appointment he had been offered in Madagascar ; 
but unfortunately was so severely tried by illness while de- 
tained at the coast, that for nearly two years, he was not able 
to turn his abilities as a naturalist to account by proceeding 
to that island. We have no doubt but he will yet distinguish 
himself in that untrodden field. 




June 16th, 1863, start for Upper Cataracts — Cultivation — Cotton — Huts, 
empty, or tenanted by skeletons — Buffalo-birds and dread of the poisoned 
arrow — Kombi, a species of strophanthus, the poison employed — The 'Nga 
poison — Its effects — Instinct in man — Mukuru-Madse — Sanu, or prickly- 
seeded grass — Its use — Native paths — Guinea-fowls — Cotton patches — 
Expedition recalled — No other course open to us, labour being all swept 
away by Portuguese slave-trading — Mr. Waller witnesses a small part of the 
trade — Friendliness of Ajawa and Makololo to English — Try to take ano- 
ther boat past the Cataracts — Loss of the boat — Penitence of the losers — 
The Cataracts — Geology. 

On the 16th of June, we started for the Upper Cataracts, 
with a mule -cart, our road lying a distance of a mile west 
from the river. We saw many of the deserted dwellings 
of the people who formerly came to us ; and were very much 
struck by the extent of land under cultivation, though that, 
compared with the whole country, is very small. Large 
patches of mapira continued to grow, — as it is said it does 
from the roots for three years. The mapira was mixed with 
tall bushes of the Congo-bean, castor-oil plants, and cotton. 
The largest patch of this kind we paced, and found it to be 
six hundred and thirty paces on one side — the rest were from 
one acre to three, and many not more than one-third 
of an acre. The cotton — of very superior quality — was now 
dropping off the bushes, to be left to rot — there was no one 
to gather what would have been of so much value in Lanca- 
shire. The huts, in the different villages we entered, were 
standing quite perfect. The mortars for pounding corn — 
the stones for grinding it — the water and beer pots — the empty 
corn-safes and kitchen utensils, were all untouched ; and most 
of the doors were shut, as if the starving owners had gone 



out to wander in search of roots or fruits in the forest, and 
had never returned. When opened, several huts revealed a 
ghastly sight of human skeletons. Some were seen in such 
unnatural positions, as to give the idea that they had expired 
in a faint, when trying to reach something to allay the 
gnawings of hunger. 

We took several of the men as far as the Mukuru-Madse 
for the sake of the change of air and for occupation, and also to 
secure for the ships a supply of buffalo meat — as those animals 
were reported to be in abundance on that stream. But 
though it was evident from the tracks that the report was 
true, it was impossible to get a glimpse of them. The grass 
being taller than we were, and pretty thickly planted, they 
always knew of our approach before we saw them. And the 
first intimation we had of their being near was the sound they 
made in rushing over the stones, breaking the branches, and 
knocking their horns against each other. Once, when 
seeking a ford for the cart, at sunrise, we saw a herd slowly 
wending up the hill-side from the water. Sending for a 
rifle, and stalking with intense eagerness for a fat beefsteak, 
instead of our usual fare of salted provisions, we got so near 
that we could hear the bulls uttering their hoarse deep low, 
but could see nothing except the mass of yellow grass in 
front ; suddenly the buffalo-birds sounded their alarm- whistle, 
and away dashed the troop, and we got sight of neither birds 
nor beasts. This would be no country for a sportsman except 
when the grass is short. The animals are wary, from the 
dread they have of the poisoned arrows. Those of the natives 
who do hunt are deeply imbued with the hunting spirit, and 
follow the game with a stealthy perseverance and cunning, 
quite extraordinary. The arrow, making no noise, the herd 
is followed up until the poison takes effect, and the wounded 
animal falls out. It is then patiently watched till it drops — 

2 H 



Chap. XXIII. 

a portion of meat round the wound is cut away, and all the 
rest eaten. 

Poisoned arrows are made in two pieces. An iron barb is 
firmly fastened to one end of a small wand of wood, ten 
inches or a foot long, the other end of which, fined down to a 
long point, is nicely fitted, though not otherwise secured, in 

A. Common form of Ajawa arrow iron head, with barbs. 

B. „ „ Manganja, poisoned at head and barbs, and neck. 

C. Manner of inserting arrow-head into the shaft. 

D. Entire arrow nearly four feet long, and feathered. 

the hollow of the reed, which forms the arrow shaft. The 
wood immediately below the iron head is smeared witli 
the poison. When the arrow is shot into an animal, the reed 
either falls to the ground at once, or is very soon brushed off 
by the bushes ; but the iron barb and poisoned upper part 
of the wood remain in the wound. If made in one piece, 
the arrow would often be torn out, head and all, by the 
long shaft catching in the underwood, or striking against 
trees. The poison used here, and called kombi, is obtained 
from a species of strophanthus, and is very virulent. Dr. 
Kirk found by an accidental experiment on himself that 
it acts by lowering the pulse. In using his tooth-brush, 

Chap. XXIII. 



which had been in a pocket containing a little of the poison, 
he noticed a bitter taste, but attributed it to his having 
sometimes used the handle in taking quinine. Though 
the quantity was small, it immediately showed its power 
by lowering his pulse which at the time had been raised by 
a cold, and next clay he was perfectly restored. Not much 
can be inferred from a single case of this kind, but it is pos- 
sible that the kombi may turn out a valuable remedy ; and, 
as Professor Sharpey has conducted a series of experiments 
with this substance, we look with interest for the results. 
An alkaloid has been obtained from it similar to strychnine. 
There is no doubt that all kinds of wild animals die from 
the effects of poisoned arrows, except the elephant and hip- 
popotamus. The amount of poison that this little weapon 
can convey into their systems being too small to kill those 
huge beasts, the hunters resort to the beam trap instead. 

Another kind of poison was met with on Lake Nyassa, which 
was said to be used exclusively for killing men. It was put 
on small wooden arrow-heads, and carefully protected by a 
piece of maize-leaf tied round it. It caused numbness of the 
tongue when the smallest particle was tasted. The Bushmen 
of the northern part of the Kalahari were seen applying 
the entrails of a small caterpillar which they termed 'Nga to 
their arrows. This venom was declared to be so powerful in 
producing delirium, that a man in dying returned in imagi- 
nation to a state of infancy, and would call for his mother's 
breast. Lions when shot with it are said to perish in agonies. 
The poisonous ingredient in this case may be derived from 
the plant on which the caterpillar feeds. It is difficult to 
conceive by what sort of experiments the properties of these 
poisons, known for generations, were proved. Probably the 
animal instincts, which have become so obtuse by civiliza- 
tion, that children in England eat the berries of the deadly 

2 H 2 



Chap. XXIII. 

nightshade (Atropa belladonna) without suspicion, were in the 
early uncivilized state much more keen. In some points 
instinct is still retained among savages. It is related that 
in the celebrated voyage of the French navigator, Bougain- 
ville, a young lady, who had assumed the male attire, per- 
formed all the hard duties incident to the calling of a common 
sailor ; and, even as servant to the geologist, carried a bag of 
stones and specimens over hills and dales without a complaint, 
and without having her sex suspected by her associates ; but on 
landing among the savages of one of the South Sea Islands, 
she was instantly recognised as a female. They began to show 
their impressions in a way that compelled her to confess her sex, 
and throw herself on the protection of the commander, which 
of course was granted. In like manner, the earlier portions 
of the human family may have had their instincts as to plants, 
more highly developed than any of their descendants — if 
indeed much more knowledge than we usually supjDOse be 
not the effect of direct revelation from above. 

The Mukuru-Madse has a deep rocky bed. The water 
is generally about four feet deep, and fifteen or twenty 
yards broad. Before reaching it, we passed five or six gullies ; 
but beyond it the country, for two or three miles from the 
river, was comparatively smooth. The long grass was over- 
running all the native paths, and one species (sanu), which 
has a sharp barbed seed a quarter of an inch in length, 
enters every pore of woollen clothing, and highly irritates 
the skin. From its hard, sharp point a series of minute barbs 
are laid back, and give the seed a hold wherever it enters : 
the slightest touch gives it an entering motion, and the little 
hooks prevent its working out. These seeds are so abundant 
in some spots, that the inside of the stocking becomes worse 
than the roughest hair shirt. It is, however, an excellent 
self-sower, and fine fodder ; it rises to the height of common 


meadow-grass in England, and would be a capital plant for 
spreading over a new country not so abundantly supplied 
with grasses as this is. 

We have sometimes noticed two or three leaves together 
pierced through by these seeds, and thus made, as it were, 
into wings to carry them to any soil suited to then* Growth. 

We always follow the native paths, though they are 
generally not more than fifteen inches broad, and so often 
have deep little holes in them, made for the purpose of 
setting traps for small animals, and are so much obscured by 
the long grass, that one has to keep one's eyes on the ground 
more than is pleasant. In spite, however, of all drawbacks, 
it is vastly more easy to travel on these tracks, than to go 
straight over uncultivated ground, or virgin forest. A path 
usually leads to some village, though sometimes it turns out 
to be a mere ganie track leading nowhere. 

In going north, we came into a part called Upeniba where 
Chibisa was owned as chief, but the people did not know 
that he had been assassinated by the Portuguese Terera. 
A great deal of grain was lying round the hut, where we 
spent the night. Very large numbers of turtledoves feasted 
undisturbed on the tall stalked mapira ears, and we easily 
secured plenty of fine fat guinea-fowls — now allowed to feed 
leisurely in the deserted gardens. The reason assigned for 
all this listless improvidence was "There are no women to 
grind the corn — all are dead." 

The cotton patches in all cases seemed to have been so 
well cared for, and kept so free of weeds formerly, that, though 
now untended, but few weeds had sprung up ; and the bushes 
were thus preserved in the annual grass burnings. Many 
baobab-trees grow in different spots, and the few people seen 
were using the white pulp found between the seeds to make 
a pleasant subacid drink. 



Chap. XXIII. 

On passing Malango, near the uppermost Cataract, not 
a soul was to be seen ; but, as we rested opposite a beautiful 
tree-covered island, tlie merry voices of children at play 
fell on our ears — the parents had fled thither for pro- 
tection from the slave-hunting Ajawa, still urged on by 
the occasional visits of the Portuguese agents from Tette. 
The Ajawa, instead of passing below the Cataracts, now avoided 
us, and crossed over to the east side near to the tree on which 
we had hung the boat. Those of the Manganja, to whom we 
could make ourselves known, readily came to us; but the 
majority had lost all confidence in themselves, in each 
other, and in every one else. The boat had been burned 
about three months previously, and the Manganja were 
very anxious that we should believe that this had been 
the act of the Ajawa ; but on scanning the spot we saw 
that it was more likely to have caught fire in the grass- 
burning of the country. Had we intended to be so long in 
returning to it, we should have hoisted it bottom upwards ; 
for, as it was, it is probable that a 4 quantity of dried leaves 
lay inside, and a spark ignited the whole. All the trees 
within fifty yards were scorched and killed, and the nails, 
iron, and copper sheathing, all lay undisturbed beneath. 
Had the Ajawa done the deed, they would have taken 
away the copper and iron. 

Our hopes of rendering ourselves independent of the south 
for provisions, by means of this boat, being thus disappointed, 
we turned back with the intention of carrying another up to 
the same spot ; and, in order to find level ground for this, 
we passed across from the Shire at Malango to the upper part 
of the stream Lesungwe. A fine, active, intelligent fellow, 
called Pekila, guided us, and was remarkable as almost the 
only one of the population left with any spirit in him. The 
depressing effect which the slave-hunting scourge has upon 



the native mind, though little to be wondered at, is sad, very 
sad to witness. Musical instruments, mats, pillows, mortars 
for pounding meal, were lying about unused, and becoming 
the prey of the white ants. With all their little comforts 
destroyed, the survivors were thrown still further back into 

It is of little importance perhaps to any but travellers, to 
notice that in occupying one night a well-built hut, which 
had been shut up for some time, the air inside at once gave 
us a chill, and an attack of fever ; both of which vanished 
when the place was well-ventilated by means of a fire. We 
have frequently observed that lighting a fire early in the 
mornings, even in the hottest time of the year, gives fresh- 
ness to the whole house, and removes that feeling of closeness 
and languor, which a hot climate induces. 

On the night of the 1st July, 1863, several loud peals of 
thunder awoke us ; the moon was shining brightly, and not 
a cloud to be seen. All the natives remarked on the clear- 
ness of the sky at the time, and next morning said, " We 
thought it was God " (Morungo). 

On arriving at the ship on the 2nd July, we found a 
despatch from Earl Russell, containing instructions for the 
withdrawal of the Expedition. The devastation caused by 
slave-hunting and famine lay all around. The labour had 
been as completely swept away from the Great Shire Valley, 
as it had been from the Zambesi, wherever Portuguese in- 
trigue or power extended. The continual forays of Mariano 
had spread ruin and desolation on our south-east as far as 
Mount Clarendon. 

While this was going on in our rear, the Tette slave- 
hunters from the West had stimulated the Ajawa to sweep 
all the Manganja off the hills on our East; and slaving 
parties for this purpose were still passing the Shire above 



the Cataracts. In addition to the confession of the Governor 
of Tette, of an intention to go on with this slaving in ac- 
cordance with the counsel of his elder brother at Mosarn- 
biqne, we had reason to believe that slavery went on under 
the eye of his Excellency, the Governor-General himself; 
and this was subsequently corroborated by our recognising 
two women at Mosambique who had lived within a hundred 
yards of the Mission-station at Magomero. They were well 
known to our attendants, and had formed a part of a gang 
of several hundreds taken to Mosambique by the Ajawa at 
the very time when his Excellency was entertaining English 
officers with anti-slavery palavers. To any one who under- 
stands how minute the information is, which Portuguese 
governors possess by means of their own slaves, and through 
gossiping traders who seek to curry their favour, it is idle to 
assert that all this slaving goes on without their approval and 

If more had been wanted to prove the hopelessness of pro- 
ducing any change in the system which has prevailed ever 
since our allies, the Portuguese, entered the country, we 
had it in the impunity with which the freebooter, Terera, 
who had murdered Chibisa, was allowed to carry on his 
forays. Belchior, another marauder, had been checked, 
but was still allowed to make war, as they term slave- 

Mr. Horace Waller was living for some five months on 
Mount Morambala, a position from which the whole process 
of the slave-trade, and depopulation of the country around 
could be well noted. The mountain overlooks the Shire, 
the beautiful meanderings of which are distinctly seen, on clear 
days, for thirty miles. This river was for some time supposed 
to be closed against Mariano, who, as a mere matter of form, 
was declared a rebel against the Portuguese flag. When, 



however, it became no longer possible to keep up the sham ? 
the river was thrown open to him ; and Mr. Waller has seen 
in a single day from fifteen to twenty canoes of different 
sizes going down, laden with slaves, to the Portuguese settle- 
ments from the so-called rebel camp. These cargoes were 
composed entirely of women and children. For three months 
this traffic was incessant, and at last, so completely was the 
mask thrown off, that one of the officials came to pay a visit 
to Bishop Tozer on another part of the same mountain, and, 
combining business with pleasure, collected payment for some 
canoe work done for the Missionary party, and with this pur- 
chased slaves from the rebels, who had only to be hailed from 
the bank of the river. When he had concluded the bargain he 
trotted the slaves out for inspection in Mr. Waller's presence. 
This official, Senhor Mesquita, was the only officer who could 
be forced to live at the Kongone. From certain circum- 
stances in his life, he had fallen under the power of the 
local Government; all the other Custom-house officers re- 
fused to go to Kongone, so here poor Mesquita must live 
on a miserable pittance — must live, and perhaps slave, sorely 
against his will. His name is not brought forward with a 
view of throwing any odium on his character. The disinter- 
ested kindness which he showed to Dr. Meller, and others, 
forbids that he should be mentioned by us with anything like 

Other parties were out to the south-east of Senna, slaving 
for exportation from Inhambane. While we were at Shu- 
panga, an embassy was sent to us with an offer of ivory, and 
all the land not occupied by the Zulus, if we would only send 
a few people to expel the Senna slave-hunters from the 
neighbourhood. Here, as with what are called the emigrant 
Boers of the interior of the Cape, the secret of power is, the 
possession of gunpowder ; bowmen cannot stand the attack of 



Chap. XXIII. 

musket's, and whoever possesses access to a seaport has the 
power of carrying on slaving to any extent ; for on the East 
Coast there is no restriction in the introduction of arms and 
ammunition. The laws are quite as stringent against these 
articles as at the Cape ; but, like the laws for the abolition 
of slavery, no one obeys them — they are only for quotation 
and self-glorification in Europe. 

Under all these considerations, with the fact that we 
had not found the Rovuma so favourable for navigation 
at the time of our visit as we expected, it was impossible 
not to coincide in the wisdom of our withdrawal ; but we 
deeply regretted that we had ever given credit to the Por- 
tuguese Government for any desire to ameliorate the condition 
of the African race ; for, with half the labour and expense 
anywhere else, we should have made an indelible mark of 
improvement on a section of the Continent. Viewing Por- 
tuguese statesmen in the light of the laws they have passed 
for the suppression of slavery and the slave-trade, and by 
the standard of the high character of our own public men, 
it cannot be considered weakness to have believed in the 
sincerity of the anxiety to aid our enterprise, professed 
by the Lisbon Ministry. We hoped to benefit both Por- 
tuguese and Africans by introducing free-trade and Christi- 
anity. Our allies, unfortunately, cannot see the slightest 
benefit in any measure, that does not imply raising them- 
selves up by thrusting others down. The official* paper 

* The Portuguese Government 
lately employed a gentleman named 
Lacerda to write a series of papers 
in their official journal, the ' Diario de 
Lisboa,' to prove that Dr. Livingstone 
made a great mistake in ascribing any 
merit to Speke and Grant's discovery 
of what appears to be the main source 
of the Nile. The ancient Portuguese 

missionaries, Jeronymo Lobo and Joao 
dos Santos, and others, it seems, pre- 
ceded our countrymen. In fact, this 
clever writer proves to his own satis- 
faction that the English have dis- 
covered next to nothing in Africa. As 
no one out of Portugal requires a 
refutation of these loose statements, 
we turn to a question of more import- 



of the Lisbon Government has since let us know " that their 
policy was directed to frustrating the grasping designs of the 
British Government to the dominion of Eastern Africa." 
We, who were on the spot, and behind the scenes, knew that 
feelings of private benevolence had the chief share in the 
operations undertaken for introducing the reign of peace and 
good will on the Lakes and central regions, which for ages 

ance. Do the Portuguese Ministry, 
by employing the writer of these 
papers, mean to endorse the deeds of 
their officials in Africa? We have 
believed them to be incapable of so 
doing ; but they quoted with so much 
eagerness a private note from the Rev. 
Henry Rowley, which he never in- 
tended for publication, that we give 
our friend's opinion as to the chief 
cause of the disasters which befell the 
Mission of which he was a member. 
In the intercourse between the Mission 
and Expedition not a single break 
occurred in our friendly intercourse 
and good will. 

" Bath, February 22, 1865. 

'* Deak Dr. Livingstone, 

"Waller has written to me on 
the subject of my letter to Mr. 
Glover, and he tells me that a certain 
Portuguese publication, professedly 
quoting from that letter, says in sub- 
stance — 

" ' The Rev. Mr. Rowley states that 
the attack by Dr. Livingstone on the 
Ajawa was the cause of the final non- 
success of the Mission.' 

" I never said that ; nor have I at 
any time said anything from which 
such a statement could be justly in- 

" The misfortunes of the Mission 
were owing to loss of stores, the fa- 
mine, and, above all, to the evil prac- 

tices of the Portuguese, who kindled 
and kept up wars between the tribes, 
in order that they might purchase the 
prisoners for slaves. 

" The Portuguese were in our hour 
of need of great service to us in sup- 
plying us with food. Personally, we 
missionaries had much to thank them 
for; but their conduct towards the 
natives is past description bad ; and 
I am entirely one with you in your 
denouncement of such conduct. 

"I have always said and thought 
you did well in releasing the slaves, 
and in going against the Ajawa under 
the idea that they were a mere slaving 
horde. My letter to Mr. Glover was 
not written to blame you for what you 
had done, nor to throw the responsi- 
bility of our acts upon you, but to 
make known to our friends at the 
Cape that you had done what we had 
done, and that you were the first to 
do it. 

" Had you at that time been in the 
same mind about our attack upon the 
Ajawa as you were when you wrote to 
Sir Culling Eardley, my letter would 
never have been written ; and seeing 
the ill effect it appears to have pro- 
duced, I am very sorry it was ever 

" I hope what I have said will meet 
your wishes. 

" Very truly yours, 

" Henry Rowley," 


have leen the abodes of violence and bloodshed. But that 
great change was not to be accomplished. The narrow-minded 
would ascribe all that was attempted to the grasping pro- 
pensity of the English. But the motives that actuate many 
in England, both in public and private life, are much more 
noble than the world gives them credit for. 

Seeing, then, that we were not yet arrived at "the good 
time coming," and that it was quite impossible to take the 
Pioneer down to the sea till the floods of December, we 
made arrangements to screw the Lady Nyassa together; 
and, in order to improve the time intervening, we resolved 
to carry a boat past the Cataracts a second time, sail along 
the eastern shore of the Lake, and round the northern end, 
and also collect data by which to verify the information 
collected by Colonel Bigby, that the 19,000 slaves, who go 
through the Custom-house of Zanzibar annually, are chiefly 
drawn from Lake Nyassa and the Valley of the Shire. 

The people attached to the Mission by Bishop Mackenzie 
now formed a little free community near Chibisa's, supporting 
themselves by cultivating the soil. They imitated in this 
respect the Makololo, who had formed very extensive 
gardens, and were now able to sell grain and vegetables 
to the Expedition. The friendly feelings of both these 
people towards the English were unmistakeable. An 
instance in proof of this may be cited. The Makololo 
village was about a quarter of a mile distant from the 
Mission-huts, one of which was accidentally set on fire by 
the owner ; some loaded guns inside went off as the fire 
reached the powder, and the Makololo, hearing the unwonted 
sounds of guns in the evening, seized their arms and 
rushed to the rescue of the English, supposing that they 
were attacked by an enemy with firearms. 

Notwithstanding their refusal to return with medicine for 



their Chief, and in spite of several accusations made against 
them by the black men from the Cape, which, after a good 
deal of careful inquiry, could not be proved ; we remem- 
bered their noble conduct in saving our lives in the river 
at Karivua, and, with this fresh proof of their willingness 
to risk their lives for our countrymen, we selected live of 
the best rowers among them, in the belief that these 
five were worth fifty of any other tribe for the navigation 
of the Lake, or for any difficulty which might occur in 
the course of our journey northwards. Our party consisted 
of twenty natives, some of whom were Johanna men, and 
were supposed to be capable of managing the six oxen which 
drew the small wagon with a boat on it. A team of twelve 
Cape oxen, with a Hottentot driver and leader, would 
have taken the wagon over the country we had to pass 
through with the greatest ease ; but no sooner did we get 
beyond the part of the road already made, than our drivers 
encountered obstructions in the way of trees and gullies, 
which it would have been a waste of time to have over- 
come by felling timber and hauling out the wagon by 
block and tackle purchases. The Ajawa and Manganja 
settled at Chibisa's were therefore sent for, and they took 
the boat on their shoulders and carried it briskly, in a 
few days, past all the Cataracts except one ; then coming to 
a comparatively still reach of the river, they took advantage 
of it to haul her up a couple of miles. The Makololo had 
her then entirely in charge ; for, being accustomed to rapids 
in their own country, no better boatmen could be desired. 
The river here is very narrow, and even in what are called 
still places, the current is very strong, and often obliged 
them to haul the boat along by the reeds on the banks, or to 
hand a tow-rope ashore. The reeds are fall of cowitch 
(Dolichos pruriens), the pods of which are covered with 


what looks a fine velvety down, but is in reality a multitude 
of fine prickles, which go in by the million, and caused an 
itching and stinging in the naked bodies of those who were 
pulling the tow-rope, that made them wriggle as if stung 
by a whole bed of nettles. Those on board required to be 
men of ready resource with oars and punting-poles, and such 
they were. But, nevertheless, they found after attempting 
to pass by a rock, round which the water rushed in whirls, 
that the wiser plan would be to take the boat ashore, and 
carry her past the last Cataract. When this was reported, 
the carriers were called from the various shady trees under 
which they had taken refuge from the sun. This was 
midwinter, but the sun is always hot by day here, though 
the nights are cold. Five Zambesi men, Avho had been all 
their lives accustomed to great heavy canoes, — the chief re- 
commendation of which is said to be, that they can be run 
against a rock with the full force of the current without in- 
jury — were very desirous to show how much better they could 
manage our boat than the Makololo ; three jumped into 
her when our backs were turned, and two hauled her up a 
little w r ay; the tide caught her bow, we heard a shout of 
distress, the rope was out of their hands in a moment, and 
there she was, bottom upwards; a turn or two in an eddy, 
and away she went, like an arrow, down the Cataracts. One 
of the men in swimming ashore saved a rifle. The whole 
party ran with all their might along the bank, but never 
more did we see our boat. 

The five performers in this catastrophe approached with 
penitential looks. They had nothing to say, nor had we. 
They bent down slowly, and touched our feet with both 
hands. "Ku kuata moendo" — "to catch the foot" — is 
their way of asking forgiveness. It was so like what we 
have seen a little child do — try to bring a dish unbidden 

Chap. XXIII. 



to its papa, and letting it fall, burst into a cry of distress — 
that they were only sentenced to go back to the ship, 
get provisions, and, in the ensuing journey on foot, carry 
as much as they could, and thus make up for the loss of 
the boat. 

It was excessively annoying to lose all this property, 
and be deprived of the means of doing the work proposed, 
on the east and north of the Lake ; but it would have 
been like crying over spilt milk, to do otherwise now than 
make the best use we could of our legs. The men were 
sent back to the ship for provisions, cloth, and beads ; 
and while they are gone, we may say a little of the Cataracts 
which proved so fatal to our boating plan. 

They begin in 15° 20' S., and end in lat. 15° 55' S., the 
difference of latitude is therefore 35'. The river runs 
in this space nearly north and south, till we pass Malango ; 
so the entire distance is under 40 miles. The principal 
Cataracts are five in number, and are called Pamofunda 
or Pamozima, Morewa, Panoreba or Tedzane, Pampatamanga, 
and Papekira. Besides these, three or four smaller ones 
might be mentioned ; as, for instance, Mamvira, where in our 
ascent we first met the broken water, and heard that gush- 
ing sound, which, from the interminable windings of some 
200 miles of river below, we had come to believe the tranquil 
Shire could never make. While these lesser cataracts de- 
scend at an angle of scarcely 20°, the greater fall 100 feet 
in 100 yards, at an angle of about 45°, and one at an angle 
of 70°. One part of Pamozima is perpendicular, and, when 
the river is in flood, causes a cloud of vapour to ascend, 
which, in our journey to Lake Shirwa, we saw at a distance 
of at least eight miles. The entire descent from the Upper 
to the Lower Shire is 1200 feet. Only on one spot in all that 
distance is the current moderate — namely, above Tedzane. 



Chap. XXIII. 

The rest is all rapid, and much of it being only fifty or eighty 
yards wide, and rushing Hke a mill-race, it gives the im- 
pression of water-power, sufficient to drive all the mills in 
Manchester, running to waste. Pamofuncla, or Pamozima, 
has a deep shady grove on its right bank. When we were 
walking alone through its dark shade, we were startled 
by a shocking smell like that of a dissecting-room ; and 
on looking up saw dead bodies in mats suspended from the 
branches of the trees, a mode of burial somewhat similar to 
that which we subsequently saw practised by the Parsees in 
their " towers of silence " at Poonah near Bombay. The 
name Pamozima means, " the departed spirits or gods " — 
a fit name for a place over which, according to the popular 
belief, the disembodied souls continually hover. 

The rock lowest down in the series is dark reddish-grey 
syenite. This seems to have been an upheaving agent, 
for the mica schists above it are much disturbed. Dark 
trappean rocks full of hornblende have in many places burst 
through these schists, and appear in nodules on the surface. 
The highest rock seen is a fine sandstone of closer grain than 
that at Tette, and quite metamorphosed where it comes into 
contact with the igneous rocks below it. It sometimes gives 
place to quartz and reddish clay schists, much baked by heat. 
This is the usual geological condition on the right bank of 
the Cataracts. On the other side we pass over masses of 
porphyritic trap, in contact with the same mica schists, and 
these probably give to the soil the great fertility we ob- 
served. The great body of the mountains is syenite. So 
much mica is washed into the river, that on looking atten- 
tively on the stream one sees myriads of particles floating 
and glancing in the sun ; and this, too, even at low water. 




Travelling beverage — Good behaviour of the English sailors — Motola island 

— Starvation fare of natives — New course of march — The Rivi-rivi — A 
country after the scourge of war has passed over it — Lose our way — Hospi- 
tality of the people — Kirk's Range — Valley of G5a or Gova — Disintegra- 
tion of rocks in a hot climate — Our party viewed as slave-traders — Matunda 
■ — Reach the heel of Lake Nyassa — Katosa's village — Ajawa migrations — 
Native agriculture — Bishop Mackenzie's idea of Native agriculture — Cotton 

— Chinsamba — The Assyrian countenance, the true negro type — The Babisa 
■ — Laugh of native women — Cry of children — Course N.E. to the shores 
of Lake Molamba — The Chia fish-net — Hoes — Savages could not have 
continued to live, had they been entirely uninstructed — They needed a 
superhuman instructor. 

It was the 15th of August before the men returned from 
the ship, accompanied by Mr. Kae and the steward of the 
Pioneer. They brought two oxen, one of which was instantly 
slaughtered to put courage into all hearts, and some bottles 
of wine, a present from Waller and Alington. We never 
carried wine before, but this was precious as an expression 
of kindheartedness on the part of the donors. If one at- 
tempted to carry either wine or spirits, as a beverage, he 
would require a whole troop of followers for nothing else. 
Our greatest luxury in travelling was tea or coffee. We 
never once carried sugar enough to last a journey, but coffee 
is always good, while the sugarless tea is only bearable, be- 
cause of the unbearable gnawing feeling of want and sinking 
which ensues if we begin to travel in the mornings without 
something warm in the stomach. Our drink generally was 
water, and if cool, nothing can equai it in a hot climate. 
We usually carried a bottle of brandy rolled up in our blan- 
kets, but that was used only as a medicine ; a spoonful in 
hot water before going to bed, to fend off a chill and fever. 

2 i 



Spirits always do barm, if the fever has fairly begun; and 
it is probable that brandy-and-water has to answer for a 
good many of the deaths in Africa. 

Mr. Eae had made gratifying progress in screwing to- 
gether the Lady Nyassa. He had the zealous co-operation 
of three as fine steady workmen as ever handled tools ; and, 
as they were noble specimens of English sailors, we would 
fain mention the names of men who are an honour to the 
British navy — John Eeid, John Pennell, and Kichard Wil- 
son. The reader will excuse our doing so, but we desire to 
record how much they were esteemed, and how thankful 
we felt for their good behaviour. The weather was delight- 
fully cool ; and, with full confidence in those left behind, it 
was with light hearts we turned our faces north. Mr. Kae 
accompanied us a day in front; and, as all our party had 
earnestly advised that at least two Europeans should be 
associated together on the journey, the steward was at the 
last moment taken. Mr. Eae returned to get the Lady 
Nyassa ready for sea; and, as she drew less water than 
the Pioneer, take her down to the ocean in October. 
One reason for taking the steward is worth recording. 
Both he and a man named King,* who, though only a 
leading stoker in the Navy, had been a promising student 
in the University of Aberdeen, had got into that weak 
bloodless-looking state which residence in the lowlands 
without much to do or think about often induces. The best 
thing for this is change and an active life. A couple of days' 
march only as far as the Mukuru-Madse, infused so much 
vigour into King that he was able to walk briskly back. 
Consideration for the steward's health led to his being selected 
for this northern journey, and the measure was so com- 

* A brother, we believe, of one who 
accompanied Burke and Willis in the 

famous but unfortunate Australian 



pletely successful that it was often, in the hard march, 
a subject of regret, that King had not been taken too. A 
removal of only a hundred yards is sometimes so beneficial 
that it ought in severe cases never to be omitted. 

We were fairly on the march on the 19th August, The 
island Motola, at which the boat had been hung, was soon 
reached. Two men, who had taken refuge on the island, 
were walking along one of the paths which wound among 
the trees and bushes. The noise of the Cataract, on the 
other side of their island home, prevented them from hear- 
ing the sound of our footsteps till we were within a yard of 
them. A start — and the bundles of roots they were carrying 
fell to the ground, and they made off as if to jump into the 
river; but we stopped beside the roots, and called them to 
come back and take their food. They thought that we were 
Ajawa, but a glance assured them to the contrary, and we 
were gratified to see, in their look of confidence when told 
who we were, the wide-spread influence of the English name. 
The roots were about the size of common turnips, and called 
Malapa. The natives said that a person who did not know 
how to cook them would kill himself by using them as food. 
This is probable ; for it is necessary to boil them in a strong 
ley of woodashes, pour that away, and boil them in the same 
kind of mixture a second and third time before they are eat- 
able. The tamarinds of this country were now ripe, and the 
people were collecting them and neutralizing their excessive 
acidity by boiling the pods with the ashes of the lignum - 
vitaa tree, which are beautifully white, and sometimes cake 
as if they contained a large amount of alkali ; the same ashes 
are used too as a whitewash. When we came upon men like 
these poor fugitives, they were employed to carry our luggage, 
and were paid for their labour. This seemed to inspire more 
confidence than giving a present would have done. 

2 i 2 



Chap. XXIY. 

Our object now was to get away to the N.N.W., 
proceed parallel with Lake Nyassa, but at a considerable 
distance west of it, and thus pass by the Mazitu or Zulus 
near its northern end without contact — ascertain whether any 
large river flowed into the Lake from the west — visit Lake 
Moelo, if time permitted, and collect information about the 
trade on the great slave route, which crosses the Lake at 
its southern end, and at Tsenga and Kota-kota. The 
Makololo were eager to travel fast, because they wanted 
to be back in time to hoe their fields before the rains, 
and also because their wives needed looking after. Indeed 
Masiko had already been obliged to go back and settle 
some difference, of which a report was brought by other 
wives who followed their husbands about twenty miles 
with goodly supplies of beer and meal. Masiko went off 
in a fury; nothing less than burning the offenders' houses 
would satisfy him; but a joke about the inevitable fate of 
polygamists, and our inability to manage more than one 
wife, and sometimes not even her, with a walk of a good 
many miles in the hot sun, mollified him so much, that a 
week afterwards he followed and caught us up without having 
used any weapon more dangerous than his tongue. 

In going in the first instance N.E. from the uppermost 
Cataract, we followed in a measure the great bend of the river 
towards the foot of Mount Zomba. Here we had a view of 
its most imposing side, the west, with the plateau some 3000 
feet high, stretching away to its south, and Mounts Chirad- 
zuru and Mochiru towering aloft to the sky. From that 
goodly highland station, it was once hoped by the noble 
Mackenzie, who, for largeness of heart and loving disposition, 
really deserved to be called the " Bishop of Central Africa," 
that light and liberty would spread to all the interior. 
We still think it may be a centre for civilizing influences ; 


for any one descending from these cool heights, and stepping 
into a boat on the Upper Shire, can sail three hundred miles 
without a check into the heart of Africa. 
f^We passed through a tract of country covered with 
mopane trees, where the hard baked soil refused to let 
the usual thick crops of grass grow; and here we came 
upon very many tracks of buffaloes, elephants, antelopes, 
and the spoor of one lion. An ox we drove along with us, 
as provision for the way, was sorely bitten by the tsetse. 
The effect of the bite was, as usual, quite apparent two 
days afterwards, in the general flaccidity of the muscles, 
the drooping ears, and looks of illness. It always excited 
our wonder that we, who were frequently much bitten too 
bv the same insects, felt no harm from their attacks. Man 
shares the immunity of the wild animals. 

Though this was the dry, or rather hot season, many 
flowers were in blossom along our path. The euphorbia, 
baobab, and caparidaceous trees were in full bloom. A 
number of large hornbills attracted our attention, and 
Masiko, approaching the root of a tree in order to take 
sure aim at the birds, did not observe that within a few 
yards of the same tree two elephants stood in the cool shade 
fanning themselves with their huge ears. Dr. Livingstone 
fired a ball into the ear of one of the animals at thirty yards 
distance, but he only went off shaking his head, and Masiko 
for the first time perceived his danger as the beast began 
to tear away through the bush. Many Manganja skeletons 
were passed on entering a grove of lofty trees, under whose 
deep shade stood the ruins of a large village. Wild animals 
had now taken possession of what had lately been the abodes 
of men living in peace and plenty. 

Finding a few people on the evening of the 20th of August, 
who were supporting a wretched existence on tamarinds and 


mice, we ascertained that there was no hope of our being 
able to buy food anywhere nearer than the Lakelet Pama- 
lonibe, where the Ajawa Chief, Kainka, was now living ; but 
that plenty could be found with the Maravi female Chief, 
Nyango. We turned away north-westwards, and struck the 
stream Kibve-ribve, or Rivi-rivi, which rises in the Maravi 
range, and flows into the Shire. Here, except below its 
sandy bed, the channel was without any water, but higher 
up it has pools at intervals with dry spaces between, and 
still further west it becomes a fast-flowing stream, forty 
feet wide, and one or two feet deep. Its name implies that 
it has Cataracts in it, and the sanjika ascends it to spawn ; 
but the evaporation is so great in the hot season, that be- 
fore it reaches the Shire it is quite dry. 

The country here has been divided into districts, that on 
the south of the Eivi-rivi is called Nkwesi, and that on the 
north, Banda ; and these extend along the boundary stream 
from its source to its confluence. This is interesting, as indi- 
cating an appreciation of the value of land. In many parts 
the idea has not taken root, and any one may make a garden 
wherever he pleases. The garden becomes property, the un- 
cultivated land no one claims. The villages, of the number 
of wdiich we never previously had the smallest idea, from 
our route having been along the river, seem always to have 
been selected w r ith a view to shade — they were now all de- 
serted. The lofty sterculias, with trunks of fifty feet without 
a branch, of a yellowish-green, stand around, and many of 
the huts have been overshadowed by wide-spreading wild 
fig-trees, on which the elephants now feed undisturbed. The 
ground was strewn with branches which they had broken off. 
One species of sterculia has roundish pods the size of one's 
fist, with seeds covered with canary-coloured pulp which 
yields abundance of fine oil. The motsikiri-trees have also 

Chap. XXIV. 



been preserved for the sake of the fat and oil which may be 
obtained from their seeds. 

As the Eivi-rivi came from the N.W. we continued to 
travel along its banks, until we came to people who had 
successfully defended themselves against the hordes of the 
Ajawa. By employing the men of one village to go for- 
ward and explain who we were to the next, we managed 
to prevent the frightened inhabitants from considering us 
a fresh party of Ajawa, or of Portuguese slaving agents. 
Here they had cultivated maize, and were willing to sell, 
but no persuasion could induce them to give us guides to 
the Chieftainess, Nyango. They evidently felt that we were 
not to be trusted ; though, as we had to certify to our own 
character, our companions did not fail "to blow our own 
trumpet," with blasts in which modesty was quite out of 
the question. To allay suspicion we had at last to re- 
frain from mentioning the lady's name. . 

It would be wearisome to repeat the names of the villages 
we passed on our way to the north-west. One was the largest 
we ever saw in Africa, and quite deserted, with the usual 
sad sight of many skeletons lying about. Another was called 
Tette. We know three places of this name, which fact shows 
it to be a native word ; it seems to mean a place where 
the water rushes over rocks. A third village was called 
Chipanga (a great work), a name identical with the Shu- 
panga of the Portuguese. This repetition of names may 
indicate that the same people first took these epithets in 
their traditional passage from north to south. The country 
generally was covered with open forest of moderate growth, 
and very large trees fringed the watercourses. One, a fig- 
tree with a peculiar leaf, had been struck by lightning. On 
the lines which the electric fluid had made in streaming 
down its trunk, masses of new growth were shooting out to 


repair the damage, and a great deal of gum, of a kind never 
observed before by us on any tree, bad exuded. Beyond the 
village of Tette, the scourge of slave war had not passed 
westward; and now, when we came to human dwellings, 
the people welcomed us in words, the full meaning of which 
we, whose happy country has never suffered from an inva- 
sion, can scarcely realize, " We are glad that it is not war 
you bring, but peace." 

At this season of the year the nights are still cold, and the 
people having no crops to occupy their attention do not stir 
out till long after the sun is up. At other times they are 
off to their fields before the day dawns, and the first sound 
one hears is the loud talking of men and women, in which 
they usually indulge in the dark to scare off beasts by 
the sound of the human voice. When no work is to be done, 
the first warning of approaching day is the hemp-smoker's 
loud ringing cough. 

Having been delayed one morning by some negotiation 
about guides, who were used chiefly to introduce us to other 
villages, we two whites walked a little way ahead, taking the 
direction of the stream. The men having been always able 
to find out our route by the prints of our shoes, we went 
on for a number of miles. This time, however, they lost our 
track and failed to follow us. The path was well marked 
by elephants, hyenas, pallahs, and zebras, but for many a 
day no human foot had trod it. When the sun went down 
a deserted hamlet was reached, where we made comfortable 
beds for ourselves of grass. Firing muskets to attract the 
attention of those who have strayed is the usual resource 
in these cases. On this occasion the sound of firearms 
tended to mislead us ; for, hearing shots next morning, 
a long weary march led us only to some native hunters, 
who had been shooting buffaloes. Keturning to a small 


village we met with some people who remembered our 
passing up to the Lake in the boat ; they were as kind as 
they could be. The only food they possessed was tama- 
rinds, prepared with ashes, and a little cowitch meal. The 
cowitch, as mentioned before, has a velvety brown cover- 
ing of minute prickles, which, if touched, enter the pores of 
the skin and cause a painful tingling. The women in 
times of scarcity collect the pods, kindle a fire of grass 
over them to destroy the prickles, then steep the beans 
till they begin to sprout, wash them in pure water, and 
either boil them or pound them into meal, which resembles 
our bean-meal. This plant climbs up the long grass, and 
abounds in all reedy parts, and, though a plague to the 
traveller who touches its pods, it performs good service in 
times of famine by saving many a life from starvation. Its 
name here is Kitedzi. 

Having travelled at least twenty miles in search of our 
party that day, our rest on a mat in the best hut of the 
village was very sweet. We had dined the evening before 
on a pigeon each, and had eaten only a handful of kitedzi 
porridge this afternoon. The good wife of the village took 
a little corn which she had kept for seed, ground it after 
dark, and made it into porridge, this, and a cup of wild 
vegetables of a sweetish taste for a relish, a little boy brought 
in and put down, with several vigorous claps of his hands, 
in the manner which is esteemed polite, and which is strictly 
enjoined on all children. The repast was so scanty that even 
the smaller of the two starvelings, who was awake, thought 
that it was all for him, and set to work at once, while his 
fellow-sufferer, overcome with sleep, had just commenced a 
pleasant dream of being at a grand feast. Awaking just in 
time to save a mere fragment of the tiny meal, he was amused 
to hear the excuses offered by the ruthless devourer, which, 



Chap. XXIV. 

from feeling the same cravings of appetite, his companion 
perfectly understood. 

On the third day of separation, Akosanjere, the headman 
of this village, conducted us forward to our party who had 
gone on to Nseze, a district to the westward. This incident 
is mentioned, not for any interest it possesses, apart from the 
idea of the people it conveys. We were completely separated 
from our men for nearly three days, and had nothing where- 
with to purchase food. The people were sorely pressed by 
famine and war, and their hospitality, poor as it was, did 
them great credit, and was most grateful to us. Our own 
men had become confused and wandered, but had done their 
utmost to find us ; on our rejoining them, the ox was slain, 
and all, having been on short commons, rejoiced in this " day 
of slaughter." Akosanjere was, of course, rewarded to his 
heart's content. 

On the 26th August we left the village of Chasundu, where 
the party had reunited, and crossed several running streams 
of fine cold water. We had now attained a considerable 
altitude, as was evident from the change in the vegetation ; — 
the masuko-tree, with its large hard leaves, never met with 
in the lowlands, was here covered with unripe fruit, — fine 
rhododendrons, — the trees {Ccesalpinece), with pinnated leaves, 
from which bark cloth is made, — the molompi (Pterocarpus), 
which, when wounded, exudes large quantities of a red juice 
so astringent that it might answer the purposes of kino, and 
furnishes a wood, as elastic and light as ash, from which the 
native paddles are made. These trees, with everlasting 
flowers shaped like daisies, and ferns, betokened an elevated 
habitat, and the boiling-point of water showed that our 
altitude was 2500 feet above the sea. 

As we pursued our way, we came close up to a range of 
mountains, the most prominent peak of which is called Mvai. 

Chap. XXIV. 



This is a great, bare, rounded block of granite shooting up 
from the rest of the chain. It and several other masses of 
rock are of a light grey colour, with white patches, as if of 
lichens ; the sides and summits are generally thinly covered 
with rather scraggy trees. There are several other pro- 
minent peaks — one, for instance, still further north, called 
Chirobve. Each has a name, but we could never ascertain 
that there was an appellation which applied to the whole. 
This fact, and our wish to commemorate the name of Dr. 
Kirk, induced us afterwards, when we could not discover a 
particular peak mentioned to us formerly as Molomo-ao- 
koku, or Cock's-bill, to call the whole chain from the west of 
the Cataracts up to the north end of the Lake, " Kirk's Kange." 
The part we slept at opposite Mvai was named Paudio, and 
was evidently a continuation of the district of one of our 
stations on the Shire, at which observations for latitude were 
formerly taken. 

Leaving Paudio, we had Kirk's Kange close on our left 
and at least 3000 feet above us, and probably not less than 
5000 feet above the sea. Far to our right extended a 
long green wooded country rising gradually up to a ridge, 
ornamented with several detached mountains, which bounded 
the Shire Valley. In front, northwards, lay a valley as rich 
and lovely as we ever saw anywhere, terminating at the 
mountains, which, stretched away some thirty miles beyond 
our range of vision and ended at Cape Maelear. The 
groups of trees had never been subjected to the landscape 
gardener's art ; but had been cut down mercilessly, just as 
suited the convenience of the cultivator ; yet the various 
combinations of open forest, sloping woodland, grassy lawns, 
and massive clumps of dark green foliage along the running 
streams, formed as beautiful a landscape as could be seen 
on the Thames. This valley is named Goa or Gova, and as 



we inoyed through it we found that what was smooth to the 
eye was very much furrowed by running streams winding 
round innumerable knolls. These little brooklets came 
down from the range on our left, and the water was deli- 
ciously cool. 

Gova had been invaded by the Ajawa under Kainka, now 
living at the lakelet Pamalombe, and a party of Babisa, 
both eager slave-traders. The consequence of this visita- 
tion was, that, in the spots where women had ventured back 
to their former gardens, our appearance was the signal for 
instant flight. A very large portion of the land had once 
been under cultivation, but it was now abandoned to buffaloes 
and elephants. The deep dark euphorbia hedges stood 
round the hamlets, and shady trees cast a grateful coolness 
over the smooth Boalo, where basket-making, spinning, and 
weaving, or dancing, drinking, and gossip formerly went on. 
Everything was beautiful to the eye ; but no people could 
be seen — except here and there a few dejected-looking 
men. No food could be bought, and but a miserably small 
present of wild fruits was brought as the accustomed offering 
to strangers. We, therefore, tried to induce some of the 
villagers we fell in with to take us over the range on our 
left; but, though we knew that the Maravi lived on its 
western side, they stoutly maintained that there were none 
within two days of it. Several of the mountain-sides in 
this country are remarkably steep, and the loose blocks 
on them sharp and angular, without a trace of weathering. 
For a time we considered the angularity of the loose frag- 
ments as evidence that the continent was of comparatively 
recent formation, but we afterwards heard the operation ac- 
tually going on, by which the boulders are split into these 
sharp fragments. The rocks are heated by the torrid sun 
during the day to such an extent that one is sometimes 



startled on sitting down on them after dusk to find them 
quite too hot for the flesh, protected by only thin trousers, 
to bear. The thermometer placed on them rises to 137° in 
the sun. These heated surfaces, cooling from without by 
the evening air, contract more externally than within, and 
the unyielding interior forces off the outer parts, to a 
distance of one or two feet. Let any one in a rocky place 
observe the fragments that have been thus shot off, and 
he will find in the vicinity pieces from a few ounces 
to one or two hundred pounds in weight, which exactly fit 
the new surface of the original block ; and he may hear in 
the evenings among the hills, where sound travels readily, 
the ringing echo of the report, which the natives ascribe to 
Mchesi or evil spirits, and the more enlightened to these 
natural causes. 

It would have been no great feat to have scaled these 
mountains without any path to guide us ; but we could not 
afford to waste the time necessary for a prolonged ascent. 
Our provisions were nearly expended, so we pushed onward 
to the north, in hopes of finding what we needed there. 

We afterwards discovered that the poor people had good 
reason for not leading strangers, of whom they knew nothing, 
to the stores of corn which, after the invasion, they had been 
fain to hide amongst the crags of the hills. 

When we came abreast of the peak Chirobve, the people 
would no longer give us guides. They were afraid of their 
enemies, whose dwellings we now had on our east ; and, 
proceeding without any one to lead us, or to introduce us 
to the inhabitants, we were perplexed by all the paths 
running zigzag across instead of along the valley. They 
had been made by the villagers going from the 
hamlets on the slopes to their gardens in the meadows 
below. To add to our difficulties, the rivulets and 


mountain-torrents had worn gullies some thirty or forty 
feet deep, with steep sides that could not be climbed except 
at certain points. The remaining inhabitants on the flank 
of the range when they saw strangers winding from side to 
side, and often attempting to cross these torrent beds at 
impossible places, screamed out their shrill war-alarm, and 
made the valley ring with their wild outcries. It was 
war, and war alone, and we were too deep down in the 
valley to make our voices heard in explanation. For- 
tunately, they had burned off the long grass to a great 
extent. It only here and there hid them from us. Select- 
ing an open spot, we spent a night regarded by all around 
us as slave-hunters, but were undisturbed, though the usual 
way of treating an enemy in this part of the country is by 
night attack. 

The nights at the altitude of the valley were cool, 
the lowest temperature shown being 37°; at 9 a.m. and 
9 p.m. it was 58°, about the average temperature of the day ; 
at midday 82°, and sunset 70°. Our march was very much 
hindered by the imperfectly burned corn and grass stalks 
having fallen across the paths. To a reader in England 
this will seem a very small obstacle. But he must fancy 
the grass stems as thick as his little finger, and the corn- 
stalks like so many walkingsticks lying in one direction, 
and so supporting each other that one has to lift his feet 
up as when wading through deep high heather. The 
stems of grass showed the causes of certain explosions as 
loud as pistols, which are heard when the annual fires come 
roaring over the land. The heated air inside expanding 
bursts the stalk with a loud report, and strews the fragments 
on the ground. 

A very great deal of native corn had been cultivated 
here, and we saw buffaloes feeding in the deserted gardens, 



and some women, who ran away very much faster than the 
beasts did. 

On the 29th, seeing some people standing under a tree 
by a village, we sat down, and sent Masego, one of our 
party, to communicate. The headman, Matunda, came back 
with him, bearing a calabash with water for us. He said 
that all the people had fled from the Ajawa, who had only 
just desisted from their career of pillage on being paid 
five persons as a fine for some offence for which they had 
commenced the invasion. Matunda had plenty of grain 
to sell, and all the women were soon at work grinding 
it into meal. We secured an abundant supply, and four 
milk goats. The Manganja goat is of a very superior breed 
to the general African animal, being short in the legs 
and having a finely-shaped broad body. By promising the 
Makololo that, when we no longer needed the milk, they 
should have the goats to improve the breed of their own at 
home, they were induced to take the greatest possible care of 
both goats and kids in driving and pasturing. 

After leaving Matunda, we came to the end of the highland 
valley ; and, before descending a steep declivity of a thousand 
feet towards the part which may be called the heel of the 
Lake, we had the bold mountains of Cape Maclear on our 
right, with the blue water at their base, the hills of 
Tsenga in the distance in front, and Kirk's Range on our 
left, stretching away northwards, and apparently becoming 
lower. As we came down into a fine rich undulating valley, 
many perennial streams running to the east from the hills 
on our left were crossed, while all those behind us on the 
higher ground seemed to unite in one named Lekiie, which 
flowed into the Lake. 

After a long day's march in the valley of the Lake, 
where the temperature was very much higher than in that 



Chap. XXIV. 

we had just left, we entered the village of Katosa, which is 
situated on the bank of a stream among gigantic timber 
trees, and found there a large party of Ajawa — Waiau, 
they called themselves — all armed with muskets. We sat 
down among them, and were soon called to the Chief's 
court, and presented with an ample mess of porridge, buffalo 
meat, and beer. Katosa was more frank than any Manganja 
Chief we had met, and complimented us by saying that " we 
must be his ' Bazimo ' (good spirits of his ancestors) ; for when 
he lived at Pamalombe, we lighted upon him from above — 
men the like of whom he had never seen before, and coming 
he knew not whence." He gave us one of his own large and 
clean huts to sleep in ; and we may take this opportunity of 
saying that the impression we received, from our first journey 
on the hills among the villages of Chisunse, of the excessive 
dirtiness of the Manganja was erroneous. This trait was con- 
fined to the cool highlands. Here crowds of men and 
women were observed to perform their ablutions daily in the 
stream that ran past their villages ; and this we have observed 
elsewhere to be a common custom with both Manganja and 

Before we started on the morning of the 1st September, 
Katosa sent an enormous calabash of beer, containing at 
least three gallons, and then came and wished us to " stop 
a day and eat with him." On explaining to him the reasons 
for our haste, he said that he was in the way by which 
travellers usually passed, he never stopped them in their 
journeys, but would like to look at us for a day. On our 
promising to rest a little with him on our return, he gave 
us about two pecks of rice, and three guides to conduct us to 
a subordinate female Chief, Nkwinda, living on the borders 
of the Lake in front. 

The Ajawa, from having taken slaves down to Quillimane 

Chap. XXIV. 



and Mosambique, knew more of us than Katosa did. Their 
muskets were carefully polished, and never out of these 
slavers' hands for a moment, though in the Chief's presence. 
We naturally felt apprehensive that we should never see 
Katosa again. A migratory afflatus seems to have come 
over the Ajawa tribes. Wars among themselves, for the 
supply of the Coast slave-trade, are said to have first set 
them in motion. The usual way in which they have 
advanced among the Manganja has been by slave-trading 
in a friendly way. Then, professing to wish to live as 
subjects, they have been welcomed as guests, and the Man- 
ganja, being great agriculturists, have been able to support 
considerable bodies of these visitors for a time. When the 
provisions became scarce, the guests began to steal from the 
fields ; quarrels arose in consequence, and, the Ajawa having 
firearms, their hosts got the worst of it, and were expelled 
from village after village, and out of their own country. 
The Manganja were quite as bad in regard to slave-trading 
as the Ajawa, but had less enterprise, and were much more 
fond of the home pursuits of spinning, weaving, smelting 
iron, and cultivating the soil, than of foreign travel. The 
Ajawa had little of a mechanical turn, and not much love 
for agriculture, but were very keen traders and travellers. 
This party seemed to us to be in the first or friendly stage 
of intercourse with Katosa ; and, as we afterwards found, he 
was fully alive to the danger. 

Our course was shaped towards the N.W., and we traversed 
a large fertile tract of rich soil extensively cultivated, but 
dotted with many gigantic thorny acacias which had proved 
too large for the little axes of the cultivators. After leav- 
ing Nkwinda, the first village we spent a night at in the 
district Ngabi was that of Chembi, and it had a stockade 
around it. The Azitu or Mazitu were said to be ravaging 

2 K 


the country to the west of us, and no one was safe except 
in a stockade. We have so often, in travelling, heard of 
war in front, that we paid little attention to the assertion 
of Chembi, that the whole country to the N.W. was in 
flight before these Mazitu, under a Chief with the rather 
formidable name of Mowhiriwhiri ; we therefore resolved to go 
on to Chinsamba's, still further in the same direction, and 
hear what he said about it. 

In marching across the same kind of fertile plains, there 
was little to interest the mind. The air was very sultry, for 
this is the " hot season " of the year. A thick haze restricted 
our view on all sides to a few miles. The blazing glare of 
the torrid sun on this haze gives to one, accustomed to mists 
elsewhere, the impression of being enveloped in a hot fog. 
The cultivation was very extensive and naturally drew our 
thoughts to the agriculture of the Africans. On one part of 
this plain the people had fields of maize, the plants of 
which towered far over our heads. A succession of holes 
three feet deep and four wide had been made in a sandy 
dell, through which flowed a perennial stream. The maize 
sown in the bottom of these holes had the benefit of the 
moisture, which percolated from the stream through the 
sand ; and the result was a flourishing crop at a time of 
year when all the rest of the country was parched and 
dusty. On our counting the grains in one large cob or ear 
of maize, it was found to contain 360, and as one stalk has 
at times two or three cobs, it may be said to yield three 
or four hundred-fold. 

While advantage is taken of the moist stratum in these 
holes during the dry season, grain, beans, and pumpkins, 
which are cultivated only in the rainy time of the year, are 
planted on ridges a foot high, allowing the superabundant 
moisture to rim off. Another way in which the natives 


show their skill in agriculture is by collecting all the weeds 
and grass into heaps, covering them with soil and then set- 
ting fire to them. They bum slowly, and all the ashes and 
much of the smoke is retained in the overlying soil. The 
mounds thus formed, when sown upon, yield abundantly. The 
only instrument of husbandry here is the short-handled hoe ; 
and about Tette the labour of tilling the soil, as represented 
in the woodcut, is performed entirely by female slaves. On 

Females Hoeing. 

the West Coast a double-handled hoe is employed. Here 
the small hoe is seen in the hands of both men and women. 
In other parts of Africa a hoe with a handle four feet long is 
used, but the plough is quite unknown. 

In illustration of the manner in which the native know- 
ledge of agriculture strikes an honest intelligent observer, it 
may be mentioned that the first time good Bishop Mackenzie 
beheld how well the fields of the Manganja were cultivated 

2 k 2 



Chap. XXIV. 

on the hills, he remarked to Dr. Livingstone, then his fellow- 
traveller — " When telling the people in England what were 
my objects in going ont to Africa, I stated that, among other 
things, I meant to teach these people agriculture ; but I 
now see that they know far more about it than I do." This, 
we take it, was an honest straightforward testimony, and we 
believe that every unprejudiced witness, who has an oppor- 
tunity of forming an opinion of Africans who have never 
been debased by slavery, will rank them very much higher 
in the scale of intelligence, industry, and manhood, than 
others who know them only in a state of degradation. 

In two days' march we counted twenty-four cotton 
patches, each at least one-fourth of an acre in extent. One 
was 240 paces broad. All, as before observed, had been 
kept so clear of weeds, that the fires passed by the cotton 
bushes in the regular grass-burnings without touching them. 

Men and women were seen carrying their grain from vil- 
lages towards the stockades ; much corn strewed along the path 
evinced the haste with which it had been borne to the places 
of safety. Some were cutting down the large old euphorbia- 
trees and an umbelliferous tree, which surrounded the vil- 
lages, in order that a clear view of the approach of the 
enemy might be obtained. Then one dead body lay in our 
path with a wound in the back ; then another, and another, 
lying in the postures assumed in mortal agony, which no 
painter can reproduce. On coming near Chinsamba's two 
stockades, on the banks of the Lintipe, we were told that the 
Mazitu had been repulsed there the clay before, and we had 
evidence of the truth of the report of the attack in the sad 
sight of the bodies of the slain. The Zulus had taken off 
large numbers of women laden with corn ; and, when driven 
back, had cut off the ears of a male prisoner, as a sort of 
credential that he had been with the Mazitu, and with grim 

Chap. XXIV. 



humour sent him. to tell Chinsamba "to take good care 
of the corn in the stockades, for they meant to return for 
it in a month or two." 

Chinsamba's people were drumming with might and main 
on our arrival, to express their joy at their deliverance from 
the Mazitu. The drum is the chief instrument of music 
among the Manganja, and with it they express both their 
joy and grief. They excel in beating time. Chinsamba 
called us into a very large hut, and presented us with a 
huge basket of beer. The glare of sunlight from which we 
had come enabled him, in diplomatic fashion, to have a 
good view of us before our eyes became enough accustomed 
to the dark inside to see him. He has a Jewish cast of 
countenance, or rather the ancient Assyrian face, as seen 
in the monuments brought to the British Museum by Mr. 
Layard. This form of face is very common in this country, 
and leads to the belief that the true type of the negro is 
not that met on the West Coast, from which most people 
have derived their ideas of the African. The majority of 
heads here are as well shaped as those depicted in the an- 
cient Assyrian and Egyptian monuments. The lips are more 
like those of Europeans than of the West Coast negroes. 
They may be described as full, but not unpleasantly so ; 
and more heads may be observed prolonged a little back- 
wards and upwards like that of Julius Caesar, than among 
ourselves. A large ring in one ear reminds one of the 
Egyptian monuments, and so do some of the fashions of 
dressing the hair. The legs do not, as a rule, present the 
high calves, which are supposed to distinguish the African 
race ; nor do we meet what is termed the lark-heel any 
oftener here than among the civilized races of Europe. We 
have noticed a peculiar length of thigh* bone in several 
instances, but have not had an opportunity of ascertaining 

502 THE BABISA. Chap. XXIV. 

whether it is as common as the long arms, which formerly 
gave so much advantage in the use of the broadsword among 

Chinsamba had many Abisa or Babisa in his stockade, and 
it was chiefly by the help of their muskets that he had 
repulsed the Mazitu. These Babisa are great travellers and 
traders, and, in fact, occupy somewhat the same position in 
this country, as the Greeks do in the Levant. About the first 
words they addressed to us were — " I have seen the sea ; I 
have been to Iboe, Mosambique, Quillimane ; I know ships, 
steamers, Englishmen ; I am a great trader." On this 
knowledge a claim was founded for familiarity, such as pro- 
bably is permitted by half-caste traders on the coast. While 
the Manganja viewed us with awe, as totally unlike any 
people they had ever seen before, the Babisa entered our 
hut, and sat down with the air of men accustomed to good 
society. Wishing to be civil to the intruders, we compli- 
mented them on their extensive travels, and trading, and 
expressed the hope that, as they had learned so much, and 
become so rich, they would be more than usually generous 
towards the weary, hungry, and thirsty strangers; but this 
had no effect. We never here or elsewhere received the 
smallest present from the Babisa. The Makololo usually 
put the matter pretty forcibly by telling intrusive visitors of 
this tribe, " that from presuming to sit near to English- 
men, it was plain that they had never seen one before — 
that their travels were lies from end to end — that they 
never could have met the real English of the sea, but 
only mongrel things with hair like this" (pointing to their 
own heads). Without being rude, we usually obtained only 
just as much of their company as we required, and found 
that they had more knowledge of the interior than of the 



We liked Chinsamba very well, and found that he was 
decidedly opposed to our risking our lives by going further 
to the N.W. The Mazitu were believed to occupy all the 
hills in that direction, so we spent the 4th September with 
him. His district, called Mosapo, is undulating, with some 
conical hills, but the haze only permitted us to see short 
distances. The grass was now all yellow, and some black 
patches showed where it had been burned off. The tall 
trees were bare except on the banks of the Lintipe 
which runs here in a deep rocky channel. Where we for- 
merly crossed it, at the Lake, it was still and deep, and a 
hippopotamus played in one of its reaches. A thick grove 
stood at the stockade in which we lived, and our men shot 
many guinea-fowls in it. The women and children were 
seen constantly bathing in the stream, and the men did 
not approach, until they had asked leave to pass. We 
have frequently observed that the Manganja women are 
very particular in avoiding any spot where men are sup- 
posed to be washing, and it is only the chance of a first 
sight of the white skin that makes them at times forget 
their good manners. The laugh of the women is brimful of 
mirth. It is no simpering smile, nor senseless loud guffaw ; 
but a merry ringing laugh, the sound of which does one's 
heart good. One begins with Ha, Hee, then comes the 
chorus in which all join, Hae'ee' ! and they end by slapping 
their hands together, giving the spectator the idea of great 
heartiness. When first introduced to a Chief, if we have 
observed a joyous twinkle of the eye accompanying his 
laugh, we have always set him down as a good fellow, and 
we have never been disappointed in him afterwards. 

It is rather a minute thing to mention, and it will only be 
understood by those who have children of their own, but the 
cries of the little ones, in their infant sorrows, are the same 



in tone, at different ages, here as all oyer the world. We 
have been perpetually reminded of home and family by the 
wailings which were once familiar to parental ears and heart, 
and felt thankful that to the sorrows of childhood our children 
would never have superadded the heartrending woes of the 

Taking Chinsamba's advice to avoid the Mazitu in their 
marauding, we started on the 5th September away to the 
N.E., and passed mile after mile of native cornfields, with 
an occasional cotton-patch. Many of the thick corn-stalks 
had been broken in the haste of the reapers, and lay across 
the paths much to our inconvenience in walking. Men 
and women were eagerly reaping the remaining ears, and 
in haste conveying them to the stockades which were 
crammed with corn, and contained each three or four thou- 
sand souls ; some took us for Mazitu, and fled in dismay ; 
but returned when assured by our guides that we were the 
English, who had sailed up the Lake. So much corn had 
been scattered along the paths by the Mazitu and the fugi- 
tives in their haste, that some women were collecting and 
winnowing it from the sand. Three dead bodies, and seve- 
ral burned villages, showed that we were close upon the 
heels of the invaders, and that the system of securing " kind 
masters " in the Zulu's hands is a sad system enough. All 
that can be alleged in its favour is, that it entails much less 
loss of life than that which secures " kind masters " across 
the ocean for far fewer survivors. 

After a long march through cornfields, we passed over 
a waterless plain about N.N.W. of the hills of Tsenga to 
a village on the Lake, and thence up its shores to Chitanda. 
The banks of the Lake were now crowded with fugitives, who 
had collected there for the poor protection which the reeds 
afforded. For miles along the water's edge was one con- 

Chap. XXIV. 



tinuous village of temporary huts. The people had brought 
a little corn with them ; but they said, " What shall we eat 
when that is done ? When we plant corn, the wild beasts 
(Zinyama, as they call the Mazitu) come and take it. When 
we plant cassava, they do the same. How are Ave to live?" 
A poor blind woman, thinking we were Mazitu, rushed off in 
front of us with outspread arms, lifting the feet high, in the 
manner peculiar to those who have lost their sight, and 
jumped into the reeds of a stream for safety. 

In our way along the shores we crossed several running 
rivulets of clear cold water, which, from having reeds at their 
confluences, had not been noticed in our previous exploration 
in the boat. One of these was called Mokola, and another 
had a strong odour of sulphuretted hydrogen. We reached 
Molamba on the 8th September, and found our old acquaint- 
ance, Nkomo, there still. One of the advantages of travel- 
ling along the shores of the Lake was, that we could bathe 
anywhere in its clear fresh water. To us, who had been 
obliged so often to restrain our inclination in the Zambesi and 
Shire for fear of crocodiles, this was pleasant beyond mea- 
sure. The water now was of the same temperature as it was 
on our former visit, or 72° Fahr. The immense depth of 
the Lake prevents the rays of the sun from raising the tem- 
perature as high as that of the Shire and Zambesi; and 
the crocodiles, having a 1 ways clear water in the Lake, 
and abundance of fish, rarely attack man ; many of these 
reptiles could be seen basking on the rocks. 

A day's march beyond Molamba brought us to the lakelet 
Chia, which lies parallel with the Lake. It is three or four 
miles long, by from one to one and a half broad, and com- 
municates with the Lake by an arm of good depth, but with 
some rocks in it. As we passed up between the Lake and 
the eastern shore of this lakelet, we did not see any 



Chap. XXIV. 

Chia Hand Net 

streams flowing into it. It is qnite remarkable for the abun- 
dance .of fish; and we saw upwards of fifty large canoes 
engaged in the fishery, which is carried on by means of 
hand-nets with side -frame poles about seven feet long. 
These nets are nearly identical with those now in use in 

Normandy — the 
difference being 
that the African 
net has a piece 
of stick lashed 
across the handle- 
ends of the side 
poles to keep 
them steady, which is a great improvement. The fish must 
be very abundant to be scooped out of the water in such 
quantities as we saw, and by so many canoes. There is 
quite a trade here in dried fish. 

The country around is elevated, undulating, and very 
extensively planted with cassava. The hoe in use has a 
handle of four feet in length, and the iron part is exactly of 
the same form as that in the country of the Bechuanas. The 
baskets here, which are so closely woven together as to hold 
beer, are the same with those employed to hold milk in 
Kaffirland — a thousand miles distant. 

Marching on foot is peculiarly conducive to meditation — 
one is glad of any subject to occupy the mind, and relieve 
the monotony of the weary treadmill-like trudge-trudging. 
This Chia net brought to our mind that the smith's 
bellows made here of a goatskin bag, with sticks along 
the open ends, are the same as those in use in the Bechuana 
country far to the south-west. These, with the long-handled 
hoe, may only show that each successive horde from north 
to south took inventions with it from the same original 


source. Where that source may have been is probably 
indicated by another pair of bellows, which we observed below 
the Victoria Falls, being found in Central India and among 
the Gipsies of Europe. 

Men in remote times may have had more highly-developed 
instincts, which enabled them to avoid or use poisons ; but 
the late Archbishop Whately has proved, that wholly un- 
taught savages never could invent anything, or even subsist 
at all. Abundant corroboration of his arguments is met 
with in this country, where the natives require but little in 
the way of clothing, and have remarkably hardy stomachs. 
Although possessing a knowledge of all the edible roots 
and fruits in the country, having hoes to dig with, and 
spears, bows, and arrows to kill the game, — we have seen 
that, notwithstanding all these appliances and means to 
boot, they have perished of absolute starvation. 

Manganja Spears with iron paddles or dibbles in the ends of the handles and weighted with iron rings. 

Three kinds of wild grasses are met with, the seeds of 
which may be used as food — one of them, called Noanje, has 
been cultivated, and when the grain is separated from the 
husks, and cooked, it yields a tolerable meal ; but without 
the art of pounding these grains, and separating the husks, 
the stomachs of the lowest savages could not endure the 
sharp scales which form at least a half of the grain. The 
same form of pestle and mortar for clearing grain is met with 
from Egypt to the southern extremity of the continent ; the 
existence of this seems to show that the same want has been 
felt and provided for from the period of the earliest migra- 
tions of the Africans. 



Since we find that men, who already possess a knowledge 
of the arts needed by even the lowest savages, are swept off 
the earth when reduced to a dependence on wild roots and 
fruits alone, it is nearly certain that if they ever had been 
in what is called a state of nature, from being so much 
less fitted for supporting and taking care of themselves than 
the brutes, they could not have lived long enough to have 
attained even to the ordinary state of savages. They could 
not have survived for a sufficient period to invent any- 
thing, such as we who are not savages, and know how to 
make the egg stand on its end, think that we easily 
could have invented. The existence, therefore, of the 
various instruments in use among the Africans, and other 
partially civilized people, indicates the communication of 
instruction at some period from some Being superior to man 

The art of making fire is the same in India as in Africa. 
The smelting furnaces, for reducing iron and copper from the 
ores, are also similar. Yellow haematite, which bears not the 
smallest resemblance either in colour or weight to the metal, 
is emjDloyed near Kolobeng for the production of iron. Mala- 
chite, the precious green stone used in civilized life for vases, 
would never be suspected by the uninstructed to be a rich 
ore of copper, and yet it is extensively smelted for rings and 
other ornaments in the heart of Africa. A copper bar of 
native manufacture four feet long was offered to us for sale 
at Chinsamba's. These arts are monuments attesting the 
fact, that some instruction from above must at some time or 
other have been supplied to mankind ; and, as Archbishop 
Whately says, "the most probable conclusion is, that man 
when first created, or very shortly afterwards, was ad- 
vanced, by the Creator himself, to a state above that of 
a mere savage," 



The argument for an original revelation to man, though 
quite independent of the Bible history, tends to confirm that 
history. It is of the same nature with this, that man could 
not have made himself, and therefore must have had a 
Divine Creator. Mankind could not, in the first instance, 
have civilized themselves, and therefore must have had a 
superhuman Instructor. 

In connexion with this subject, it is remarkable that 
throughout successive generations no change has taken 
place in the form of the various inventions. Hammers, 
tongs, hoes, axes, adzes, handles to them ; needles, bows 
and arrows, with the mode of feathering the latter; spears, 
for killing game, with spear-heads having what is termed 
" dish " on both sides to give them, when thrown, the 
rotatory motion of rifle-balls ; the arts of spinning and 
weaving, with that of pounding and steeping the inner 
bark of a tree till it serves as clothing; millstones for 
grinding corn into meal; the manufacture of the same 
kind of pots or chatties as in India ; the art of cooking, 
of brewing beer and straining it as was done in ancient 
Egypt; fish-hooks, fishing and hunting nets, fish-baskets, 
and weirs, the same as in the Highlands of Scotland ; 
traps for catching animals, &c. &c, — have all been so very 
permanent from age to age, and some of them of identical 
patterns are so widely spread over the globe, as to render 
it probable that they were all, at least in some degree, 
derived from one Source. The African traditions, which seem 
possessed of the same unchangeabilifcy as the arts to which 
they relate, like those of all other nations refer their origin 
to a superior Being. And it is much more reasonable to 
receive the hints given in Genesis, concerning direct in- 
struction from God to our first parents or their children in 
religious or moral duty, and probably in the knowledge 



Chap. XXIV. 

of the arts of life,* than to give credence to the theory that 
untaught savage man subsisted in a state which would prove 
fatal to all his descendants, and that in such helpless state 
he made many inventions which most of his progeny retained, 
but never improved upon during some thirty centuries. 

We crossed in canoes the arm of the Lake, which joins 
Chia to Nyassa, and spent the night on its northern bank. 
The whole country adjacent to the Lake, from this point up 
to Kota-kota Bay, is densely peopled by thousands who have 
fled from the forays of the Mazitu in hopes of protection from 
the Arabs who live there. In three running rivulets we saw 
the Shuare palm, and an oil palm which is much inferior to 
that on the West Coast. Though somewhat similar in 
appearance, the fruit is not much larger than hazel-nuts, and 
the people do not use them, on account of the small quantity 
of oil which they afford. 

The idea of using oil for light never seems to have entered 
the African mind. Here a bundle of split and dried bamboo, 
tied together with creeping plants, as thick as a man's body, 
and about twenty feet in length, is employed in the canoes as 
a torch to attract the fish at night. It would be considered a 
piece of the most wasteful extravagance to burn the oil they 
obtain from the castor-oil bean and other seeds, and also from 
certain fish, or in fact to do anything with it but anoint 
their heads and bodies. 

* Genesis, chap, iii., verses 21 and 
23, " make coats of skins, and clothed 
them " — " sent him forth from the 
garden of Eden to till the ground " 

imply teaching. Tide Archbishop 
Whately's ' History of Keligious Wor- 
ship.' John TV. Parker, West Strand, 
London, 1849. 

Chap. XXV. 




Kota-kota Bay — Arabs building a dhow — Natives congregate to any point 
which affords hope of protection from war — Does Mohammedanism spread 
in Africa ? — Pagan Africans superior in morality to followers of the False 
Prophet — Leave for the West — Ascent of the plateau — Native ceremony 
of initiation — Slave route — Effects of rarefied air — Primitive African 
religion inculcates humility — Unlike Mohammedanism — Cruel rites limited 
to the small district of Dahomey ■ — Witchcraft or influence of plants — Ab- 
sence of idol worship — Humid climate — Loangwa of the Lake and Loangwa 
of Maravi — Matumboka — Filing the teeth and tattooing — Gunpowder the 
source of slave-trader's power — Slave-hunters mode of attack — Muazi in 
Kasungu — Causes of inundations — Eains — Climate dependent on pre- 
vailing winds — The watershed — Native geography — Comparison between 
Africa and India — Fossils — The iron age — Minute topography — Native 

We arrived at Kota-kota Bay in the afternoon of the 10th 
September, 1863 ; and sat down under a magnificent wild 
fig-tree with leaves ten inches long, by five broad, about a 
quarter of a mile from the village of Juma ben Saidi, and 
Yakobe ben Arame, whom we had met on the Kiver Kaombe, 
a little north of this, in our first exploration of the Lake. 
We had rested but a short time when Juma, who is evidently 
the chief person here, followed by about fifty people, came to 
salute us and to invite us to take up our quarters in his 
village. The hut which, by mistake, was offered, was so 
small and dirty that we preferred sleeping in an open space 
a few hundred yards off. 

Juma afterwards apologized for the mistake, and presented 
us with rice, meal, sugar-cane, and a piece of malachite. 
We returned his visit on the following day, and found him 
engaged in building a dhow or Arab vessel, to replace one 
which he said had been wrecked. This new one was fifty 



Chap. XXV. 

feet long, twelve feet broad, and five feet deep. The planks 
were of a wood like teak, here called Timbati, and the 
timbers of a closer grained wood called Msoro. The sight 
of this dhow gave us a hint which, had we previously re- 
ceived it, would have prevented our attempting to carry a 
vessel of iron past the Cataracts. The trees around Katosa's 
village were Timbati, and they would have yielded planks 
fifty feet long and thirty inch